Texas: Gov. Abbott should grant death row inmate Rodney Reed a reprieve, before it’s too late

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 …

Pakistan: At least 161 executions since end of moratorium -- and counting

Pakistan: an execution frenzy
June 11, 2015: At least two murder convicts were executed in Faisalabad and Haripur, raising the total number of executions to at least 161 since Pakistan reversed the self-imposed moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014 after the Taliban school massacre.

Death row convict Shahid Shafiq was hanged in Faisalabad’s District Jail for killing his aunt in 1996 over a domestic dispute.

Another death row prisoner, Gul Muhammad, was executed in the Central Jail of Haripur. Gul Muhammad was awarded death sentence by an anti terrorist court in Mardan.

June 10, 2015: three more murder convicts, including a juvenile offender, were sent to the gallows in Lahore and Faisalabad.

Aftab Bahadur Masih was hanged at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, after being convicted of killing a woman and her two sons Amir and Atir in 1992 during a robbery attempt in Lahore. 

The Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a law firm handling his case, and British rights group Reprieve said Aftab Masih, a Christian, was just 15 at the time of his arrest and had spent 23 years in prison before the hanging. 

The date of birth on his birth certificate and national identity card, 30 June 1977, was not disputed by Pakistani police or the courts. 

Masih’s lawyers said he was tortured into confessing to the crimes. 

Aftab insisted he was innocent and said that when he was arrested, the police had asked for a 50,000 Rupees (about 490 USD) bribe and said they would let him go if he paid. As a plumber’s apprentice, Aftab said he could not pay. In an essay written from jail and published a day before his hanging, he repeated his assertion that he was innocent.

Another death row prisoner, Muhammad Tariq alias Tara, was hanged at the Kot Lakhpat Jail for the murder of a man named Zahid in 1995.

Meanwhile, another murder convict, identified as Hashmat Ali, was hanged in Faisalabad’s Central Jail. He had killed six people in 2000 in Nankana Sahib.

Since the de facto ban on capital punishment ended on 17 December 2014, at least 159 people, including twenty-five convicted terrorists, have been executed across the country.

June 9, 2015: Four death row inmates were hanged till their death at the gallows in jails of different Punjab cities early in the morning, raising the total number of executions to at least 156 since Pakistan reversed the self-imposed moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014 after the Taliban school massacre. 

Meantime, Shafqat Hussain’s hanging has once more been put on hold.

Two condemned assassins, Abid Maqsood and Sanaullah were hanged at gallows in Sialkot’s District Jail at today’s daybreak. The two criminals took life of a 12-year girl after a sexual assault in 1997.

In Faisalabad also, a convicted killer, Muhammed Abid, breathed his last at the gallows in Central Jail. The criminal killed Yasin over a longstanding feud in 1998.

In Sahiwal, a death row prisoner, Nawaz alias Kaka has been executed in Central Jail early in the morning. The convict killed a man over a trifling dispute with him in 1995. 

Sources: samaa.tv, June 6, 2015; Dunya News/Reuters/khybernews.tv, June 10, 2015; Dunya News, June 11, 2015

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