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Innocent on Death Row? New Evidence Casts Doubt on Convictions

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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…

Saudi Arabia beheads drug trafficker; 77th execution in 2014

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has beheaded a man convicted of drug trafficking, amid rising concerns about the growing number of executions in the country.

The man, identified as Nasser bin Amiq Ali al-Inzi, had been found guilty of attempting to smuggle "a large amount" of amphetamines into the country, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Saudi man was beheaded in the country’s northern region of Jawf. The execution was the 77th state execution in the oil-rich kingdom in 2014.

Saudi Arabia, with one of the highest rates of executions in the world, has frequently been criticized by human rights organizations.

Amnesty International recently warned that Saudi Arabia “resumed executions at an alarming pace,” expressing concern over the possible execution of dozens of prisoners on death row.

The prominent rights group lashed out at the Saudi regime for what it describes as the dire human rights situation in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia, ruled by a hereditary royal system, enjoys full support of its close ally, the United States.

In July, then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, censured Saudi Arabia for harassing human rights activists under a failed judicial system.

Saudi Arabia carries out capital punishment mostly by beheading.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under the Saudi rule.

Source: Agence France-Presse, December 9, 2014

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