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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…

Syria militants execute woman for 'adultery': monitor

Isil terrorists throw man off roof 'for being gay'
Northern Iraq, December 2014 (file photo)
Al-Qaeda-linked militants have publicly executed a woman accused of adultery in northwestern Syria, a monitoring group said Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that in total 14 people had been executed for alleged adultery or homosexuality in the war-torn country since July, half of them women.

It released a video showing fighters from Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, tying up a woman and shooting her in a square in the town of Maaret Masirin in the province of Idlib.

A crowd of civilians and fighters are seen watching, as a jihadist accuses the woman of "corrupting the earth, and adultery".

Islamic law views all sex outside marriage as a punishable crime.

Other cases of execution documented by the Observatory include a man accused of adultery who was stoned to death by Al-Nusra Front and other Islamist groups in the town of Saraqeb in Idlib.

The rival Islamic State (IS) jihadist organisation is also accused of executing several women and men for alleged adultery or homosexuality.

Another Islamist group threw a man thought to be gay off a building in the northern province of Aleppo.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said that more executions might have taken place elsewhere in Syria that were not documented.

IS has captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, declaring a "caliphate" and imposing its harsh interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Source: Agence France-Presse, January 15, 2015

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