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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 …

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, including five foreigners

Nusakambangan Island Prison
Indonesia on Sunday put to death six people convicted of drugs offences, including five foreigners, in the first executions carried out under new President Joko Widodo.

Two women were among those executed by firing squad, in a move swiftly condemned by Amnesty International as "seriously regressive".

The foreigners hailed from Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria.

The European Union had earlier urged Jakarta not to go ahead with the executions, with foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini calling the plan "deeply regrettable".

Indonesia has tough anti-drugs laws and Widodo, who took office in October, has disappointed rights activists by voicing strong support for capital punishment despite his image as a reformist.

All the prisoners, who had been sentenced to death between 2000 and 2011, were executed around the same time shortly after midnight, Tony Spontana, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, told AFP.

Vietnamese woman Tran Thi Bich Hanh was executed in Boyolali district in central Java, while five others were put to death on Nusakambangan Island, home to a high-security prison, off the south coast of the archipelago's main island of Java.

They included an Indonesian woman, Rani Andriani, along with 53-year-old Brazilian Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira and 62-year-old Dutchman Ang Kiem Soei.

A Nigerian, Daniel Enemuo, and Namaona Denis, from Malawi, were also executed.

No presidential pardons

They were all caught attempting to smuggle drugs apart from the Dutchman, who was sentenced to death for operating a huge factory producing ecstasy.

All of them had their appeals for clemency to the president -- their last chance to avoid the firing squad -- rejected last month.

Jakarta halted capital punishment in 2008 but resumed executions again in 2013. There were no executions in Indonesia last year.

Widodo, known as Jokowi, has taken a particularly hard line towards people on death row for narcotics offences, insisting they will not receive a presidential pardon as Indonesia is facing an "emergency" due to high levels of drug use.

His tough stance has sparked concern for other foreigners sentenced to death, particularly two Australians who were part of the "Bali Nine" group caught trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia in 2005.

One of the pair, Myuran Sukumaran, also had his clemency appeal rejected last month but authorities say he will be executed with the second Australian -- his accomplice Andrew Chan -- as they committed their crime together.

Chan is still waiting for the outcome of his clemency appeal.

Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International's research director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said Sunday's executions marked "a seriously regressive move and a very sad day.

"The new administration has taken office on the back of promises to make human rights a priority, but the execution of six people flies in the face of these commitments."

He called on the government to halt plans for future executions. Authorities previously said that 20 were scheduled for this year.

Before the executions, the EU's Mogherini had sought to ramp up pressure on Jakarta, describing the death penalty as "a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity".

Dutch Foreign Affairs spokesman Friso Wijnen last week insisted the Netherlands would "go to the highest levels" to prevent Ang being put to death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, January 17, 2015 (local time)


Brazil 'outraged' by Indonesia drug trafficking execution

Marco Moreira (right) and attorney
Brazil says it is "outraged" by the execution of one its citizens in Indonesia for drug trafficking.

Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, 53, was arrested in 2003 after police at Jakarta airport found 13.4 kg of cocaine hidden in his hang glider.

Brazil says he was the first Brazilian national to be executed abroad and has warned it will damage relations.

Five other convicts, from Indonesia, Malawi, Nigeria, Vietnam and the Netherlands, were executed on Sunday.

Convicted of drugs charges, they faced a firing squad in Central Java province shortly after midnight local time.

Five were executed on the island of Nusa Kambangan and the other one, a Vietnamese woman was executed in the small central Javanese town of Boyolali.

Ambassador recalled

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement that she was "outraged and dismayed".

"Relations between the two countries have been affected," said Ms Rousseff.

"The Brazilian ambassador to Jakarta has been recalled for consultations," she added.

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drug laws. The country resumed executions in 2013 after an unofficial four-year moratorium.

President Joko Widodo has said that he will show no mercy towards drug criminals because they have ruined the lives of so many.

'Another chance'

Ms Rousseff had made a plea for clemency on Friday, but it was rejected by Mr Widodo.

She told her Indonesian counterpart that she respected the sovereignty and judicial system of his country but as a mother and head of state she was making the appeal for humanitarian reasons.

Brazil says Mr Widodo said he understood the Brazilian president's concern but said he could not commute the sentence as the full legal process had been followed.

Human rights group Amnesty International urged the Indonesian government to halt executions immediately, and eventually abolish the death penalty.

Source: BBC News, January 17, 2015 (local time)

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