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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…

11 Prisoners Executed in Central and Northern Iran

Bystanders watch a public hanging in Iran. Some take pictures with their phones.
Bystanders watch a public hanging in Iran. Some take pictures with their phones.
Reports of one execution in central Iran and ten prisoners in the north of the country.

Iran Human Rights (JAN 14 2016): Iran state run media, Ashkezar News, reports on the execution of one prisoner on the morning of Thursday January 14 at Yazd's central prison (central Iran). According to the report, the prisoner, identified as "A.B.", was a Wahhabi.

According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, six prisoners were hanged at Orumiyeh's central prison (northern Iran) on murder charges. The executions were reportedly carried out on Wednesday January 13. 

On Tuesday the prisoners had been transferred from their cells to solitary confinement in preparation for their executions. 

The prisoners have been identified as Aref Shahindeji, Hossein Ezzataleb, Rahman Ranjbar, Alireza Akbari, Arsalan Badyaneh, and Abdul Wahab Hatami.

According to the human rights group, HRANA, four prisoners were hanged at Karaj's central prison (northern Iran) on drug charges. 

The executions were reportedly carried out on the morning of Tuesday January 12. 

The prisoners have been identified as Seyed Hamid Hajian, Hossein Toutiannoush, Mostafa Jamshidi, and Mohsen Nasiri.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 14, 2016

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