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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 gunpoint rapist beheaded

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia beheaded a convicted rapist on Tuesday, bringing to 36 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year.

Mohammed Bin Ali Bin Mohammad Al Bishi, a Saudi national, assaulted his victim at gunpoint, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

“He also committed a number of armed robberies causing panic among society. He had entered a number of homes by force and tried to kidnap and rape women and children,” the statement said.

It added that Al Bishi was sentenced to death “as punishment and to serve as a deterrent to others”.

Authorities carried out the sentence in the southwestern region of Asir.

Drug trafficking, rape, murder,homosexuality, apostasy and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the kingdom’s strict version of Sharia.

Amnesty International said in its annual report released last week that death sentences are often imposed “after unfair trials”.

The London-based watchdog said some defendants claimed to have been tortured or “otherwise coerced or misled into making false confessions” before trial.

The kingdom executed 87 people last year, up from 78 in 2013, according to an AFP count.

Source: Agence France-Presse, March 3, 2015


Saudi beheads rapist, murderers

Saudi Arabia beheaded Tuesday a rapist and 2 murderers, bringing to 38 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year.

Saudi Mohammed bin Ali bin Mohammed al-Bishi was convicted of raping his victim at gunpoint, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

"He also committed a number of armed robberies causing panic amongst the society. He had entered a number of homes by force and tried to kidnap and rape women and children," the statement said.

Bishi was sentenced to death "as punishment and to serve as a deterrent to others".

Authorities carried out the sentence in the southwestern region of Asir.

In a separate case, Hamoud bin Salih bin Falih al-Zubi was executed in Riyadh for gunning down a fellow Saudi during a brawl.

And another native of the kingdom, Falih bin Misnad bin Rabea al-Inzi, was beheaded in Qassim region for a fatal stabbing.

Drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy, homosexuality and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the Gulf kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law.

Amnesty International said in its annual report last week that death sentences are often imposed "after unfair trials".

The London-based watchdog said some defendants claimed to have been tortured or "otherwise coerced or misled into making false confessions" before trial.

The kingdom executed 87 people last year, up from 78 in 2013, according to an AFP count.

Source: Agence France-Presse, March 3, 2015

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