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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…

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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