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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 beheads another Pakistani for drug trafficking

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday beheaded a convicted Pakistani drug trafficker and 1 of its own citizens who killed a soldier.

Mahmoud Massih Iqbal Massih was executed in Qatif near the Gulf coast for heroin trafficking, the Saudi interior ministry said.

At the same time, Rakan bin Eid bin Bikheet al-Baqmi, a Saudi, was found guilty of chasing and firing on a security patrol, killing soldier Sultan bin Ibrahim bin Ghrahid al-Jaid.

Baqmi was executed in the Mecca region of western Saudi Arabia.

Their cases bring to 9 the number of executions this year, according to an AFP tally.

Saudi Arabia carried out the death penalty against 87 people last year, up from 78 in 2013, according to another AFP tally.

The kingdom had the 3rd-highest number of recorded executions in 2013, behind Iran and Iraq, Amnesty International said in a report.

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

Source: Agence France-Presse, January 15, 2015

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