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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…

Iran: Death sentence of Kurdish juvenile offender finalized

Heyman Uraminezhad
Heyman Uraminezhad
The Iranian judiciary has finalized the death sentence that had been handed down to a young Kurdish man who was under the age of 18 at the time of his alleged crime.

The country’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence issued for a young man by the name of Heyman Uraminezhad.

This young man is currently held in Sanandaj Central Prison waiting for his sentence to be carried out.

Heyman is currently 21 years old and was convicted of premeditated murder by the Sanandaj Prime Court.

Iran under the rule of the clerical regime is one of the leading executioners of juvenile offenders, Amnesty International said Monday.

In a new report, Amnesty International said last month that it had documented the execution of at least 73 juveniles in Iran from 2005 to 2015 and that 160 juvenile offenders are languishing on the country’s death row.

According to the Amnesty International, the report was based on information received from death-penalty opponents and human rights defenders in Iran, as well as from lawyers and relatives of juveniles convicted of capital crimes in Iran.

Now that Iran is emerging from an era of international sanctions and is seeking broader acceptance, Ms. Auerbach said, rights groups are hoping that the Iranian authorities “realize they have to act in accordance with international human rights standards.”

There have been over 2,300 executions in Iran since Hassan Rouhani has been in office, more than in any similar period in the past 25 years.

The victims include political dissidents like Gholamreza Khosravi, an activist of Iran’s principal opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) who was hanged solely for providing financial assistance to a satellite television station supporting the opposition.

On April 20, 2014 Rouhani described these executions as “God’s commandments” and “laws of the parliament that belongs to the people.”

Source: NCRI, Feb. 23, 2016

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