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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…

Eight Prisoners Including Woman Executed in Northern Iran

Bystanders watching a public execution in Iran (file photo)
Bystanders watching a public execution in Iran (file photo)
Three prisoners were reportedly hanged in the city of Nazarabad on drug charges. 

Four men and one woman were reportedly hanged at Tabriz Central Prison on murder and drug charges.

Iran Human Rights (JAN 7 2016): On Wednesday January 6, the Judiciary in the Iranian province of Alborz reported on the execution of three unidentified prisoners in the city of Nazarabad.

According to Mohammad Gheyomi, Nazarabad's Public Prosecutor, the prisoners were on death row on drug charges. The report does not mention the names of the prisoners, the date they were executed, or whether they were hanged in prison or in public.

On the same day, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported on the execution of four men and one woman at Tabriz Central Prison for murder and drug charges: a prisoner by the name of Mehdi Nasirtian was reportedly hanged on Tuesday January 5, and on Wednesday January 6, three unidentified men and one woman were hanged. 

The prisoners have been identified as: Tofigh Mohammadfar, Hossein Zadegan Eskandar, Amir Ali Zadegan Eskandar (Hossein's brother-in-law), and Zahra Nemati (Amir Ali's wife).

None of the executions on Tuesday and Wednesday at Tabriz Central Prison were reported by Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 7, 2015

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