Innocent on Death Row? New Evidence Casts Doubt on Convictions

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: 4 executed in 2 Punjab jails, teenager sentenced to death for rape and murder

Erecting scaffolds in Pakistan
Erecting gallows in Pakistan
4 death row prisoners in 2 jails of Punjab executed in the wee hours of Tuesday, ARY News reported.

3 condemned prisoners were executed in Gujrat district jail on Tuesday morning.

3 convicts, 2 brothers and their maternal uncle, were hanged to death over double-murder in year 2000. They had committed murder of 2 brothers over personal enmity 15 years ago.

Another death row convict, Akram, was hanged to death in Kasur district jail for killing a man in 1998.

The hangings brought the tally of executions to more than 250 since the Pakistan ended a 6-year moratorium on the death penalty in December, after Taliban militants gunned down more than 150 people, most of them children, at Army Public School in Peshawar.

Pakistan had initially reinstated hangings only for those convicted of terrorism, but in March this year they were extended to all capital offences.

The executions have been opposed by the United Nations and European Union (EU). Amnestry International and other rights groups campaigning against capital punishment, have criticized the government of Pakistan's decision of resumption of executions in the country.

Source: arynews.tv, November 3, 2015

Pakistani parliamentary panel approves death penalty, life imprisonment for child rapists

In what will be a historic legislation, a parliamentary panel approved on Tuesday life imprisonment or death penalty for a child's rapist.

"Whosoever commits an offence under sub-section (1) of section 376 against a woman when she is under 14 years of age shall be punished with imprisonment for life or death," a source quoting the amended clauses of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 told The Express Tribune.

The bill, which has been approved by the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Interior, will now be sent to the National Assembly for approval. "It's a historic legislation which will prevent children from rapists," said MNA Shaista Perverz, who moved the bill.

The number of cases of rape reported each year in Pakistan run into some thousands. Very few, however, ever reach their logical conclusion.

In November last year, the interior ministry had told the Senate that an alarming 14,583 rape cases had been registered in the country over the last 5 years.

Punjab, which accounted for 12,795 of the cases, saw convictions in just 949 cases. Of the 90 rape cases reported in the federal capital, there was conviction in only 1 case.

In August, a gang of 20 to 25 men had filmed as many as 400 videos of sexual abuse involving at least 280 children belonging to Hussain Khan Wala village in Kasur, Punjab. As the country's biggest child pornography scandal went viral on social media it prompted country-wide outrage while the law enforces sprang into action to defend themselves and to downplay the sickening child abuse expose.

PPP for joint sitting of parliament on anti-rape legislation

Last month, a report of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the scandal revealed that as many as 239 children were sexually abused and 31 cases had been registered. Activists condemning the Kasur child abuse case have demanded that the case be in tried in military court and that the real culprits behind it be arrested.

Source: The Express Tribune, November 3, 2015

Teenager sentenced to death for minor's murder

An anti-terrorism court sentenced a teenager to death and two others to life in prison for kidnapping and murdering an 8-year-old child in Gilgit.

The death penalty was handed to Shoaib Ahmed during a hearing in the court of Judge Raja Shahbaz. Shoaib was also fined Rs0.3 million.

The court sentenced Abrarul Haq and Muhammad Usama to life in prison and a fine of Rs0.3million each. Abrar and Usama are 15 and 16 years of age, respectively, while Shoaib is 17.

Husnain, the victim, was murdered by the convicted teenagers in November 2014 after being sexually abused. In an effort to keep him quiet about the assault, investigators said the three boys brutally killed the victim and dumped the body in a cave near the Gilgit River.

Investigators added they cut his ears, smashed his head with stones, stabbed and finally strangled him. Husnain was left in a pool of blood 500 metres from his house in Majini Mohalla.

According to the 7-page judgment, "The prosecution has proven its case against Shoaib Ahmed, Ibrarul Haq and Muhammad Usama beyond a shadow of doubt by producing sufficient evidence such as circumstantial evidence, accounts of where they were last seen evidence, CCTV footage, medical evidence, forensic serological report, recovery of the body by the suspects, confessional statements, judicial confessions and recovery of the weapon."

The judgment added Shoaib was convicted under Section 302 (b) of the Pakistan Penal Code (intentional and deliberate murder) and Section 7 (a) of ATC Act 1997. Shoaib will be hanged to death.

The 2 other convicts were sentenced under sections 302/34 of PPC and Section 7(A) of ATC act 1997.

Source: The Express Tribune, November 3, 2015

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