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'Express lane to death': Texas seeks approval to speed up death penalty appeals, execute more quickly

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Texas is seeking to speed up executions with a renewed request to opt-in to a federal law that would shorten the legal process and limit appeals options for death-sentenced prisoners.
Defense attorneys worry it would lead to the execution of innocent people and - if it's applied retroactively, as Texas is requesting - it could potentially end ongoing appeals for a number of death row prisoners and make them eligible for execution dates.
"Opt-in would speed up the death penalty treadmill exponentially," said Kathryn Kase, an longtime defense attorney and former executive director of Texas Defender Services.
But a state attorney general spokeswoman framed the request to the Justice Department as a necessary way to avoid "stressful delays" and cut down on the "excessive costs" of lengthy federal court proceedings.
Robbie Kaplan, co-founder of the #TimesUp movement, says sweeping changes to laws in recent years have dissuaded attorneys from taking on har…

Young Prisoner Hanged in Public in Northern Iran

Public execution in Iran (file photo)
Public execution in Iran (file photo)
On Monday December 14, a young prisoner was hanged in public in Noshahr (a city in the province of Mazandaran) on murder charges.

According to close sources, the prisoner's name is Milad Khodavardi and he was arrested in 2012 for allegedly murdering a woman by the name of Mehri Mallamiri. 

A source who has asked to be annonymous claims that Khodavardi was under the age of 18 at the time of the murder.

Iranian state run media, IRNA, quoting Ali Akbar Alizadeh, the Public Prosecutor of Noshahr, has confirmed the execution. 

According to IRNA, Khodavardi was 20 years old when Iranian authorities executed him.

Iran is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, which states that the death penalty shall not be issued to individuals under the age of 18 at the time of their crime. 

Khodavardi's death sentence was reportedly confirmed by Iran's Supreme Court before the execution was carried out.

IHR was able to obtain a photo of Khodavardi after he was hanged to death.

Source: Iran Human Rights, December 14, 2015

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