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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 80th person this year

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday [May 12, 2015] carried out its 80th beheading of the year, edging closer to the 87 executions it carried out during all of 2014, according to AFP tallies.

The interior ministry said a Saudi citizen, Rabie al-Sai'ari, had been convicted of trying to smuggle hashish into the kingdom.

He was executed in Najran, a district on the border with Yemen, a ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said.

The ministry has cited deterrence as a reason for its use of the death penalty despite criticism from human rights watchdogs.

Amnesty International ranked Saudi Arabia among the world's top three executioners of 2014.

On a visit to Riyadh this month, French President Francois Hollande said that capital punishment "should be banned", and his country is campaigning around the world for its abolition.

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

Source: Agence France-Presse, May 12, 2015

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