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…

Madagascar Abolishes the Death Penalty

Paris, Antananarivo, 10 December 2014 – Today, on the occasion of the World Human Rights Day, the National Assembly of Madagascar adopted a bill that abolishes the death penalty in Madagascar .

In Antananarivo on the 10th of October, the World Day against the Death Penalty, during a workshop aimed at spreading awareness about the death penalty the President of the National Assembly, via his personal representative, expressed his optimism by saying that a bill to abolish the death penalty was to be adopted during the current parliamentary session.

This workshop, organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Ministry of Justice with the support of ACAT Madagascar, FIACAT and the World Coalition against the Death Penalty, brought together a wide array of activists to discuss the death penalty in Madagascar. Its audience included the Representative of the President of the National Assembly, eight MPs, numerous leaders and members of civil society, representatives of UN agencies and several representatives of European embassies. 

In the final statement, participants at the workshop welcomed "the steps taken by the National Assembly for the development of a bill to abolish the death penalty" and encouraged the President of the Assembly "to include it in the agenda of the October 2014 session".

In light of Madagascar’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which took place in Geneva on the 3rd of November 2014, FIACAT and ACAT Madagascar recommended in an alternative report to the United Nations Human Rights Council that the Madagascan authorities abolish the death penalty and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.

Therefore, the World Day workshop’s final results and the UPR’s recommendations were followed-up by the members of the National Assembly who adopted the bill as early as 10 December 2014.

Madagascar has become the 18th member state of the African Union to have abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

Source: Fiacat, December 10, 2014

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