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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…

Saudi Arabia executes own citizen for murder

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed one of its citizens for murder, bringing to 55 the number of convicts put to death this year.

Authorities in the southwestern region of Aseer carried out the death sentence against Owaidhah Al Saadi, the interior ministry said in a statement.

A court found him guilty of shooting dead another Saudi following a dispute, it said.

Most executions in Saudi Arabia are done by beheading with a sword.

The kingdom on January 2 executed 47 people in a single day for terrorism.

According to an AFP tally, Saadi is among eight other locals and foreigners put to death this year.

Last year the kingdom executed 153 people, mostly for drug trafficking or murder, according to an AFP tally.

The number of executions in Saudi Arabia in 2015 was the highest for two decades.

The kingdom practises a strict legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, January 28, 2016

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