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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…

Pakistan army confirms death sentences for 12 militants

Pakistan has hanged nearly 350 inmates, mostly routine criminals, since lifting a 2008 moratorium on executions in 2014.

The death sentences of 12 hardcore militants was confirmed on Thursday by army Chief General Raheel Sharif, days after they were given death penalty by the military courts for committing "heinous offences relating to terrorism".

The convicts were found guilty of various acts of terrorism in the country, including breaking of Bannu Jail, attacks on armed forces, law enforcement agencies and civilians, army said in statement.

"Today Chief of Army Staff confirmed death sentences awarded to another 12 hardcore terrorists, who were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism," it said.

The convicts were tried by military courts set up after attack at Peshawar school on December 16, 2014 which killed at least 150 people, mostly students.

The venue and timing of trial was kept secret due to security reasons.

Already several militants conceited by these courts have been hanged, including the facilitators of the Peshawar school attack.

Source: Deccan Chronicle, Feb. 11, 2016

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