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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 Arabia beheads two, reaches 100 executions this year

Medieval and barbaric: public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia on Monday beheaded two convicted criminals, bringing to 100 the total executions in the Gulf kingdom this year, AFP reported.

One of the people beheaded Monday, a Syrian drug trafficker named Ismael al-Tawm, smuggled “a large amount of banned amphetamine pills into the kingdom,” according to a Saudi interior ministry statement.

A separate statement said the other person beheaded was Rami al-Khaldi, a Saudi national convicted of stabbing another Saudi to death.

The number of executions carried out in Saudi Arabia this year has skyrocketed since 2014, when the total number of executions was 87 for the entire year, reported AFP.

The majority of executions in Saudi Arabia are due to murder and drug convictions.

London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International has stated that use of death penalty for any but the “most serious crimes” violates international law. However, under Saudi Arabia’s legal code, murder, drug trafficking, rape, homosexuality and other crimes are punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, June 15, 2015

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