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 …

Indonesia stops executions; Mary Jane Veloso's family rejoices

Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso's family rejoiced over news that ranking Indonesia official issued a pronouncement that they are not considering carrying out anymore executions.

"We are very happy because this would give the government and our lawyers |time] to look into her (Mary Jane's) case. But we are really asking God to give Mary Jane's freedom as Christmas present," Celia Veloso, Mary Jane's mother, told Bulatlat.com.

Indonesian Politics, legal and security affairs Coordinating Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said in news reports today, Nov. 19, that executions would be put on hold as their country needs to focus on "fixing its weak economy."

"We haven't thought about executing a death penalty with the economic conditions like this," Pandjaitan said in the report.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said they are still verifying the information.

National Union of Peoples' Lawyers and Mary Jane's lawyer Edre Olalia said in a statement that if this is confirmed, it is "certainly welcome not only for Mary Jane Veloso but for all concerned."

"We hope in time that it leads to a permanent abolition as we have serious objections and questions about its effect and purpose in deterring crime, it precludes rehabilitation and reformation and worse, may victimize innocent individuals who are wrongly convicted for different reasons or factors and brought irretrievably to the next life or world," Olalia said.

Olalia told Bulatlat.com that this is a validation of earlier pronouncements of Indonesian Attorney General Prasetya that executions are not priority.

"But whatever you call it - moratorium, postponement, suspension or not a priority - the net effect is that there will be no execution until further notice for purported reason that they want to focus on their economy," he added.

Mary Jane, a victim of human trafficking, was arrested and sentenced to die in Indonesia some 5 years ago for carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin. Her execution was stayed at dawn of April 29 due to strong local and international outcry.

Source: bulatlat.com, November 19, 2015

British drug granny Lindsay Sandiford is SAVED from facing a firing squad after Indonesia decides to scrap executions... but she still faces a life behind bars in hellish prison

Lindsay Sandiford during her 2012 trial
Lindsay Sandiford and her interpreter during her 2012 trial
A British grandmother facing the firing squad in Indonesia after being caught smuggling drugs has been given a temporary reprieve after the country dramatically decided to halt all executions.

Former legal secretary Lindsay Sandiford, from Redcar in North Yorkshire, has been on death row since her sentencing last year for attempting to smuggle cocaine into Bali.

But Indonesia has decided to stay all executions - temporarily at least.

In an unexpected announcement made today, Luhut Panjaitan, co-ordinating minister for political legal and security affairs, said that a moratorium on executions had been put into place.

The ABC reported that the Minister said Indonesia needed to concentrate on the economy as the country's economic growth had dipped below 5 % for 2 consecutive quarters this year.

Much needed foreign investment was still needed to help build up the country's depleted infrastructure, he said.

Drugs mule Mrs Sandiford was caught at Bali airport in May 2012 carrying 10.5lb of cocaine worth 1.5million pounds and she had lost a number of appeals but recently won the right to a retrial.

She told other prisoners she was still concerned that eventually she would be led before the firing squad.

But her hopes of staying alive have now risen dramatically.

Prison sources said today that Mrs Sandiford, 59, was 'thankful' at hearing the news through the jail 'grapevine' but was still concerned that she might have to spend the rest of her life behind bars.

There had been suggestions earlier this year that Indonesia was considering banning all executions, but lawmakers said that would not be possible until the constitution was changed, perhaps in 2016.

Bali's Kerobokan Prison
Bali's Kerobokan Prison
Mrs Sandiford claims she was forced to carry the drugs after threats to the life of her younger son and was sentenced to death despite co-operating with police in a sting operation to arrest people higher up the syndicate.

The plot's alleged ringleader, Briton Julian Ponder - who conducted a behind-bars romance with British Vice-Consul Alys Harahap that led to her sacking - is expected to walk free next year after serving a 6-year term with remission.

Another of the men suspected of masterminding the smuggling plot, 43-year-old Paul Beales, of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was sentenced to just 4 years and is expected to be freed and deported before the end of this year.

Ponder's former partner Rachel Dougall, also initially suspected to be a senior member of the drugs smuggling syndicate, was released last year after serving just 1 year on a reduced charge of failing to report a crime.

The British government has repeatedly refused to fund Mrs Sandiford's legal battle against her death sentence despite a recommendation from 5 Supreme Court judges in London who said 'substantial mitigating factors' had been overlooked in her original trial.

Source: Daily Mail, November 19, 2015

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