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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…

Public Hanging in Northwestern Iran; Two Executions in Northern Iran

Public execution in Iran (file photo)
Public execution in Iran (file photo)
Iran Human Rights (JAN 8 2016): On the morning of Thursday January 7, a prisoner was reportedly hanged in public on murder charges.

The execution was reportedly carried out in public in the city of Khoy (in the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan) while a crowd, including Iranian citizens and security agents, watched. Iran state run media Azarnegah identifies the prisoner as "V.R."

According to the report, the prisoner's death sentence was issued by the criminal court in West Azerbaijan and confirmed by the Supreme Court in Iran.

Iran Human Rights (JAN 10 2016): Two prisoners were reportedly hanged at Lakan, Rasht's central prison, on drug charges. 

A report by the press department for Gilan's Judiciary says the executions were carried out on Saturday January 9 and identifies the prisoners as: V.A., 34 years old, sentenced to death for purchase and possession of 87 grams of heroin; and A.T., 33 years old, no previous criminal record, sentenced to death for possession of four kilograms and 960 grams of heroin.

Drug executions continue to rise in Iran, despite strong efforts by Iranian human rights and political bodies to end the death penalty for drug offenses.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 8-10, 2016

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