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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…

Belarus: Triple Murderer Sentenced to Death

Minsk, Belarus
Minsk, Belarus
February 16, 2016: Belarus sentenced to death a man convicted of killing three people, the day after the European Union (EU) announced it was lifting sanctions against the ex-Soviet country for an improved human rights record.

It was the third death penalty handed down in Belarus since November 2015.

The 32-year-old man, whose name was not released, was sentenced by a court in Minsk which had found him guilty of five crimes including the three murders, announced Yulia Liaskova, spokeswoman for the Belarusian high court.

These crimes were "committed with particular cruelty," she said.

The two other recent death sentence cases in Belarus were in January when Gennadi Yakovitsky, 49, was convicted of killing his companion and in November, when Ivan Kulesh, 29, was found guilty of killing three saleswomen.

The latest death sentence came after EU foreign ministers agreed on November 15 to lift nearly all sanctions on Belarus, including against strongman President Alexander Lukashenko, after improvements in the country's human rights record.

EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said that Belarus was "showing a positive trend which we want to encourage."

At the same time the European Union is opposed to capital punishment and abolishing the death penalty is a pre-condition for a country becoming a member of the bloc.

More than 400 people have been condemned to death in Belarus since the 1990s, according to estimates by human rights groups. 

Source: Agence France-Presse, Feb. 17, 2016

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