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Texas: Rodney Reed granted indefinite stay of execution

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Stay of execution came just hours after parole board unanimously recommended 120-day reprieve
The Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed was granted a stay of execution on Friday, 5 days before he was scheduled to be put to death for a murder he insists he did not commit.
The Texas court of criminal appeals blocked the execution indefinitely and sent the case back to the trial court in Bastrop county, where Reed was sentenced in 1998 for the murder of Stacey Stites two years earlier.
The court had previously rejected multiple appeals, but Reed’s lawyers argued that fresh evidence bolstered his claim of innocence. 
They said in a statement that they “are extremely relieved and thankful … this opportunity will allow for proper consideration of the powerful and mounting new evidence of Mr Reed’s innocence”.
Millions of people, including a clutch of celebrities, have rallied behind Reed’s cause, helping to generate momentum and public attention as the execution date of 20 November loomed an…

Saudi Arabia: Ethiopian woman executed for murder

Public beheading by the sword in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public beheading by the sword in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Sunday executed an Ethiopian for killing a Saudi woman while she was praying.

“Jinat Damti Farid, an Ethiopian woman, was executed in Taif Governorate in the Makkah region today for killing Ghaliah Bint Eidha Bin Saeed Al Harthi, a Saudi woman, by striking her with an axe on her head and back several times while she was praying, then taking two gold rings from her hand, and cash,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

“The General Court convicted the murderer, and the sentence was endorsed by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. A royal order was issued to execute the sentence,” the ministry said.

The statement added that the Saudi government was fully committed to upholding security, ensuring justice and carrying out the orders against anyone who attacked innocent people and shed blood.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, where the interior ministry says the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.

Amnesty says Saudi Arabia had the world's 3rd-highest number of executions last year, after China and Iran.

Under the kingdom's strict Islamic legal code, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Source: Gulf News, AFP, January 10, 2016

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