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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…

2 Hanged in Southern Iran; 7 Hanged in 1 Day, 2 in Public; Inmate Hanged in Kerman

Iran Human Rights (DEC 22 2015): According to unofficial reports confirmed by Iran Human Rights, on the morning of Saturday December 19, two prisoners were hanged at Zahedan Central Prison.

One of the prisoners has been identified as Abdolghani G. Rigi, a 29-year-old man who was jailed on political charges including Moharebeh. A close source tells IHR that Abdolghani was arrested along with another individual by the name of Jalil Kahrazehi. According to the source, Kahrazehi was executed three years ago, but Abdolghani's death sentence was suspended by Iran's Supreme Court. "It is not clear why or how Iranian authorities were able to execute Kahrazehi," says the source.

There is currently no information available regarding the identity or charges of the other individual who was also executed on Saturday. According to sources, the prisoner was tranferred out of a solitary confinement ward controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence and taken to the gallows. Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary, have been silent on these two executions.

Background Information

In December 2010, during a public religious celebration in the city of Chabahar (in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan), two suicide bombers caused an explosion that resulted in the deaths of at least 39 people. Although both of the suicide bombers were killed in the blast, Iran's Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of eight people for suspicion of having connections to the two suicide bombers.

On the morning of Sunday December 20, at least seven prisoners were hanged in Iran. Two of the executions were carried out in public.

Iran Human Rights (DEC 21 2015): On the morning of Sunday December 20, two prisoners accused of armed robbery were reportedly hanged in public at Kouzeh Gari Square in Shiraz, Fars. On the same day, five other prisoners were reportedly hanged at Bandar Abbas Central Prison on drug related charges.

According to Iran state run news agency, ILNA, the two prisoners hanged in public are "Mojtaba R, 30 years old, and Nemat G, 26 years old" and they were sentenced to death by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz for Moharebeh through allegedly committing five acts of armed robbery and inciting terror and insecurity. The death sentences were confirmed by Branch 41 of Iran's Supreme Court.

According to a report by the Press Department of the Judiciary in Hormozgan, the five prisoners executed in Bandar Abbas were sentenced to death for armed drug trafficking. The report alleges the prisoners were armed smugglers who were charged with possessing more than 243 Kilograms of crack, heroin, and opium and also large quantities of weapons and ammunition. The report does not make any mention of the names of the prisoners or their ages.

A prisoner charged with murder was reportedly hanged at Kerman Prison on Wednesday December 16. According to Iran state run news agency, Jame Jam, the prisoner, who is identified only as "A.B.", was setenced to death by a criminal court in Iran.

Source: Iran Human Rights, December 22-21, 2015

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