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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 …

Two beheaded in Saudi Arabia for drug trafficking

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia beheaded a Pakistani convicted of heroin smuggling Tuesday, the interior ministry said, bringing the number executed in two weeks to four.

It said a Saudi national was also executed in a separate case, raising to 61 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year, according to an AFP tally.

Mohammed Gul Rahma of Pakistan was executed in Qatif in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported, citing the interior ministry.

Rahma “was caught smuggling a large quantity of heroin,” SPA said.

Three other Pakistanis found guilty of heroin smuggling have also been beheaded this month, two of them in the Eastern Province.

Also on Tuesday, Mohammed bin Noun bin Nasser Al-Dhufairi of Saudi Arabia was executed in northern Jawf region for smuggling amphetamines pills, SPA said.

The interior ministry says the government “is keen on combating narcotics due to their great harm to individuals and society.”

A United Nations independent expert called in September for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said trials “are by all accounts grossly unfair” and defendants are often not allowed a lawyer.

He said confessions were obtained under torture.

Human Rights Watch expressed alarm in August at a surge in executions, which saw 19 people beheaded between in 16 days.

HRW said a number of those executed had been convicted of non-violent offenses such as drug trafficking and “sorcery,” and described the use of the death penalty in their cases as “particularly egregious.”

Moreover, Saudi judges have this year passed death sentences on five members of the country’s Shia Muslim minority for their part in pro-democracy protests.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia's strict version of Islamic sharia law.

Source: AFP, October 28, 2014

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