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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…

Iran Ends 2015 & Begins 2016 with Executions: 9 People Hanged; Disabled Man Hanged in Khoramabad

Public execution in Iran (file photo)
Public execution in Iran (file photo)
On Thursday December 31, 6 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Tabriz Central Prison (northern Iran) on drug charges and 2 young prisoners were reportedly hanged at Mashhad's Vakilabad Prison (northern Iran) on murder charges. 

On Saturday January 2, a prisoner was reportedly hanged at Khorramabad's Parsilon Prison (central Iran) on drug charges.

According to Iran state run news media, Jam News, the prisoners from Mashhad were executed on murder charges. The report identifies one of the prisoners as "A", committed murder in 2001, and does not mention any information about the other prisoner except that he was hanged for murder.

According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, the 6 prisoners from Tabriz were arrested and sentenced to death about 6 years ago for possessing and trafficking 10 Kilograms of methamphetamine. The report identifies the prisoners as: Amir Ahmadi, Jahangir Saeedi, Javad Rahnama, Reza Mohammadpour, Javad Gharehbaghi, and Hossein Hassanzadeh.

According to the human rights group HRANA, the prisoner from Khorramabad is Mehdi Ranjkesh. This prisoner was able to smuggle out a video message before he was transferred to solitary confinement and later executed. The video is available online. In the video Ranjkesh claims he suffers from mental and physical disabilities, but Iranian authorities denied him medical care and treatment. Ranjkesh also says that during his time in prison, he has been helping advocate for an end to the death penalty for drug offenses. Ranjkesh's execution is the first reported for 2016 in Iran.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 3, 2015


Disabled man hanged in western Iran prison

Iran's fundamentalist regime on Saturday hanged a disabled man in a prison in Khoramabad, western Iran.

The executed prisoner was identified as Mehdi Ranjkesh. He had spent the past 5 years behind bars.

Ranjkesh, who was accused of a drugs-related charge, was both physically and mentally disabled and was denied proper medical treatment while in prison.

The human rights situation has been deteriorating rapidly in Iran. More than 2,000 individuals have been executed during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as President of the regime. This is the highest rate of executions in the past 25 years, and it reflects an increase over figures that had already secured Iran's place as the nation with the most executions per capita.

On December 17, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution strongly condemning the brutal and systematic violation of human rights in Iran, in particular the mass and arbitrary executions, increasing violence and discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities.

Following the adoption of the 62nd UN resolution censuring human rights abuses in Iran, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect Maryam Rajavi called on the UN Security Council to hold the leaders of the clerical regime accountable and prosecute them for crimes against humanity. She underlined that this is a necessary step towards respecting the international community's vote that condemned the systematic and flagrant violations of human rights in Iran.

Source: NCRI, January 3, 2016


10 prisoners at imminent risk of execution in Iran

10 death-row prisoners were on Sunday transferred to solitary confinement in the notorious Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) Prison in Karaj, north-west of the Iranian capital Tehran, in preparation for their imminent execution.

Iran's fundamentalist regime has upheld the execution sentence for all 10 of the prisoners.

Among the prisoners at imminent risk of execution is Farajollah Hatami who has been imprisoned for the past 12 years.

The other prisoners are yet to be identified by name, but they were transferred to solitary confinement from wards 3, 4 and 6 of Gohardasht Prison.

The human rights situation has been deteriorating rapidly in Iran. More than 2,000 individuals have been executed during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as President of the regime. This is the highest rate of executions in the past 25 years, and it reflects an increase over figures that had already secured Iran's place as the nation with the most executions per capita.

On December 17, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution strongly condemning the brutal and systematic violation of human rights in Iran, in particular the mass and arbitrary executions, increasing violence and discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities.

Following the adoption of the 62nd UN resolution censuring human rights abuses in Iran, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect Maryam Rajavi called on the UN Security Council to hold the leaders of the clerical regime accountable and prosecute them for crimes against humanity. She underlined that this is a necessary step towards respecting the international community's vote that condemned the systematic and flagrant violations of human rights in Iran.

Source: NCRI, January 3, 2016

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