Innocent on Death Row? New Evidence Casts Doubt on Convictions

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…

Chad's new penal code abolishes death penalty but punishes gay sex with 20 years in jail

The Chadian cabinet has adopted a new penal code that punishes gay sex with up to 20 years in prison. 

Section 361 of the code states that the punishment for anyone who has sexual intercourse with persons of the same sex is 15 to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 ($98) to 500,000 francs ($980), according to an official document obtained by AFP. 

The draft text, which still has to be approved by parliament, was adopted on 4 September by the Council of State. 

The old penal code did not explicitly mention homosexuality. 

The government said these provisions were introduced to 'protect the family and to comply with Chadian society.' 

The new penal code also abolishes the death penalty. 

Florent Geel, Africa director of the International Federation of Human Rights, said, 'This is very good news, which is unfortunately marred by the criminalization of homosexuality. 

'Criminalizing homosexuality seems discriminatory, demagogic and counter-productive, as it may turn groups against each other.' 

He said the reform of the penal code had been in preparation 'for 10 years,' but the question of homosexuality, hitherto considered a crime, 'has never really been an issue' in Chad. 

Source: Gay Star News, Sept. 22, 2014

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