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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…

Syria: Jihadists stone man and woman to death for adultery

October 21, 2014: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a man and a woman were stoned to death for adultery in separate executions in Islamic State-run territories of Syria.

The man was executed in Idlib province in an area controlled by Islamist groups including the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's official affiliate in Syria. 

It is the first documented case of a man being stoned to death for adultery since Syria descended into civil war in 2011 and hard-line Islamic groups emerged as powerful players in areas that slipped from government control, the Observatory said.

The woman was executed in Hama province in an area controlled by Islamic State, the Observatory said. A video posted online appeared to show her execution. A bearded fighter is shown passing down the sentence in the presence of other gunmen and her father, who appears to approve of her execution.

Her hands and feet were then tied with a rope and she was forced to kneel in a pit. Covered head to toe, she begun to pray out loud as large rocks were seen striking her body. The video shows the logo of Islamic State.

The fighter overseeing the woman's execution appears to lay the blame for her crime on her husband, suggesting he had been absent. "Do not leave women. Do not be absent from them for longer than the time period permitted (by Islamic law). Return to God, brothers. And take good care of women," he says.

At one point he addresses the woman as "honorable sister", and asks her for final words. "I advise every woman to protect her honor more than her life," she says. And I ask every man, before he marries off his daughter, to scrutinize her new marital environment. That's all," she says in a faint voice.

It is not clear exactly when the video was shot, or how the woman was found guilty of adultery – a conviction that would require at least four witnesses according to Islamic law. 

Source: Reuters, October 21, 2014

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