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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…

Pakistan: Saulat Mirza Hanged in Machh Jail

Saulat Mirza
Saulat Mirza
May 12, 2015: Death-row prisoner Saulat Mirza was executed at Machh jail today at 4:30 AM for the murder of former KESC managing director Shahid Hamid, his driver and guard in 1997, raising the total number of executions to 101 since Pakistan reversed the self-imposed moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014 after the Taliban school massacre.

His body has been shifted from the jail in an ambulance to an Edhi cold storage in Quetta.

A Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flight will bring his body to Karachi in the afternoon.

Earlier today, all arrangements in this connection were firmed up while, according to jail officials, the security was further tightened around the jail and nakas were erected at all the inlets to the town.

Judicial magistrate Mach Hidayatullah supervised the hanging.

On May 11 death row prisoner Saulat Mirza met his family for the last time, a day before his scheduled execution.

Saulat's brothers, sisters and nieces and nephews were among the relatives who arrived at the Machh jail to meet the triple-murder convict.

According to prison sources, between 25 to 30 relatives met Saulat in groups of six in a room at the jail.

Years after the assassination, the murder case of the KESC MD drew media attention once again when his confessed killer Saulat Mirza, a former MQM worker, made startling disclosures in a video released hours before his scheduled execution in March.

His hanging was postponed multiple times since television channels aired his video statement, in which he claimed he was ordered by MQM chief Altaf Hussain to kill the KESC MD.

The MQM denies any involvement to the killing.

The wife of the condemned prisoner, Nighat Malik, had appealed to defer the execution of her husband for 2-3 months, maintaining that he is a key witness and his execution would lead to evidence being buried with him.

But last week, the Sindh High Court (SHC) dismissed a petition seeking to defer Saulat’s execution and reopening the murder case of MD KESC Shahid Hamid.

An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi had earlier this month issued new death warrant for Saulat Mirza’s execution at the Machh Jail on May 12.

Sources: pakistanherald.com, May 12, 2015

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