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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…

Seven Prisoners Hanged in Iran

Iran Human Rights (JAN 11 2017): Seven prisoners were reportedly hanged in southern, western, and northern Iran.

According to Iran state run media, Javan, three prisoners were hanged at Larestan Prison (in the southern provine of Fars) on armed drug trafficking charges. 

The executions were reportedly carried out on Sunday January 10. 

A local state run website, Sohbat, identified the prisoners as: B.G., M.H., and A.B., between the ages of 35 and 40.

According to the human rights group, HRANA, one prisoner was hanged at Khorramabad Prison (in the western province of Mazandaran) on murder charges.

The prisoner, who has been identified as Ghodrat Garavand, was reportedly executed on Sunday January 10. 

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary, have been silent on Garavand's execution.

According to the Mazandaran Judiciary's press department, three unidentified prisoners were hanged at Sari's central prison (in the northern province of Mazandaran) on drug charges. 

The date of the executions and the names of the prisoners were not mentioned in the report.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 11, 2016

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