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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 put to death in kingdom's 151st execution of year

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
A Saudi convicted of murder was executed on Tuesday, in the 151st death sentence carried out this year in the conservative Muslim kingdom.

Sultan al-Dosari was executed in the eastern province of Ihsa after his conviction for stabbing to death another man, the interior ministry said.

According to AFP tallies, his case brings to 151 the number of locals and foreigners put to death this year, against 87 for all of 2014.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year is the highest for 2 decades, since 192 people were put to death in 1995.

The toll has rarely exceeded 90 annually in recent years, it said.

Reasons for the surge are unclear.

Over the past few weeks, however, there has been a marked drop in executions, all of which are reported by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi executions are usually carried out by beheading with a sword.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, where the interior ministry says the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.

Amnesty says Saudi Arabia had the world's 3rd-highest number of executions last year, after China and Iran.

Under the kingdom's strict Islamic legal code, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, December 15, 2015

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