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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…

ISIS militants stone to death 2 teenage girls over alleged adultery

Reading out a death sentence in Raqqa, Syria on Feb. 23, 2016
IS militant reading out a death sentence in Raqqa, Syria, on Feb. 23, 2016
Two teenage girls accused of committing adultery have been stoned to death by Islamic State militants in Syria. 

Hasna, 17, and Madiha, 16, died after the assault in Deir ez-Zor city, eastern Syria.

The 2 men they were with, identified by the Sharia Court as Abu Zubair al-Idlbi and Maher Hameed, escaped with 50 lashes in a public flogging.

The Islamic State-led Sharia Court released a statement claiming the girls were seized in a house "with 2 strangers" - an act strictly forbidden under Islamic State's twisted interpretation of Islam. 

"The victims were accused of committing adultery with 2 older men, identified by the Sharia Court as Abu Zubair al-Idlbi and Maher Hameed," the source reported.

Local media activist Ahmed Ramadan told ARA News: "The execution took place in the Hamidiya district of Deir ez-Zor on Tuesday afternoon, where hundreds of people gathered to witness the stoning of the 2 young girls. The decision of the Sharia Court raised the anger of Deir ez-Zor's residents, who considered it unfair to kill the two girls by stoning and merely flog the men and set them free."

A fortnight ago, 4 women were raped by Islamic State fighters and then stoned to death after being accused of "committing adultery." 

The victims were arrested even though Islamic State militants were said to have caught them being abused during a raid in the city of Mosul. 

They were brought before a Sharia court that ordered them to be publicly executed without giving any details about their alleged abusers.

Source: Business Insider, Feb. 27, 2016

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