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

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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 …

27 Muslims on trial for apostasy in Sudan

Some 27 Sudanese Muslims are standing trial in a Khartoum court accused of apostasy, risking the death penalty if they are convicted, their lawyer told AFP on Thursday.

The men are accused of taking the Koran as the sole source of religious legitimacy and rejecting other Islamic texts.

"The court in Kalakla in south Khartoum has started the trial of 27 defendants brought before it under Article 126 of Sudanese criminal law, apostasy from Islam," defence lawyer Ahmed Ali Ahmed told AFP by telephone.

If convicted of apostasy, the defendants could face the death penalty under the Sharia Islamic law that has been in place in Sudan since 1983.

They are also charged with disturbing the public order, Ahmed said.

Ahmed said investigators told the court that police arrested 5 of the defendants on November 2 inside a market in the southern Khartoum neighbourhood of Mayo "when they were talking to people about their conviction in the belief in the Koran and how they don't recognise" other religious texts.

He said that the remainder were arrested the next day for the same reasons.

The defendants are accused of belonging to adheres strictly to the Koran and rejects the authority of the sunnah, traditions attributed to the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

Both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims rely on the sunnah as a source of Islamic law.

The trial of the 27 started last Sunday and went through four sessions during which the judge heard the investigators' case against the men before it adjourned on Wednesday.

It resumes on December 8.

Source: Agence France-Presse, December 3, 2015

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