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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 …

Mentally ill prisoner hanged in Pakistan's 100th execution

The authorities in Pakistan this morning executed a mentally-ill man – the 100th prisoner to be killed since the government resumed executions in December.

Muneer Hussain, from the remote area of Azad Kashmir, was convicted of murder in 2000. Mr Hussain was a long-term sufferer of a serious mental illness, experiencing extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations for at least 20 years prior to his conviction. According to his lawyers at Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), his condition deteriorated so much during his incarceration that he could no longer recognise members of his family, and had no recollection of his life before his arrest. He was hanged in Vehari, Punjab early this morning.

Mr Hussain is the 100th prisoner to be executed since the Pakistani authorities resumed hangings at the end of December 2014. In that time, the scope of the execution drive has widened from terrorism-related cases to include other convictions such as murder and kidnap. There are also fears that many of those in line for execution should never have been handed death sentences, including mentally ill people, and juveniles. Last week, the authorities signalled their intention to carry out the hanging next Thursday (6th) of Shafqat Hussain, who was convicted as a juvenile on the basis of a ‘confession’ extracted through torture.

The execution of mentally-ill people and juveniles is illegal under international and Pakistani law.

Commenting, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at legal organization Reprieve, said: “The execution of a mentally ill prisoner this morning marks a new low for the Pakistani authorities. Muneer Hussain was the 100th prisoner to be executed since the moratorium was lifted in December. In an unprecedented wave of state violence, we have seen due process jettisoned and scores of executions carried out against the mentally ill, people convicted as children, and victims of torture, in flagrant violation of international and Pakistani law. The international community must speak out and put an end to these gross injustices.”

Source: Reprieve, April 28, 2015

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