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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…

Cameroon: Death penalty for 89 Boko Haram militants

Boko Haram militants
Boko Haram militants
Military magistrate: Judgment not subject to appeal

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (CNN) —A military court in Cameroon this week sentenced 89 Boko Haram insurgents to death for their roles in terror attacks in the country's Far North Region.

The judgment handed down Wednesday marks the most extreme implementation of a controversial anti-terrorism law promulgated by President Paul Biya in December 2014. It prescribes the death penalty for "any activity which can lead to a general revolt of the population or disturb the normal functioning of the country" and for "anyone who supplies arms, war equipment, bacteria and viruses with the intention of killing."

The death penalty also applies for people found guilty of kidnapping with terrorist intent, as well as for "anyone who directly or indirectly finances acts of terrorism" and for "anyone who recruits citizens with the aim of carrying out acts of terrorism."

The law also punishes people and companies found guilty of promoting terrorism, as well as people who give false testimony to administrative and judicial authorities in matters of terrorism, with various fines and prison terms.

A military magistrate who would not be named told CNN that "the judgment was not subject to appeal."

The 89 condemned insurgents were among nearly 1,000 who were convicted by the military court.

Recently, Chad executed 10 Boko Haram members convicted of acts of terrorism.

Fear of retaliation

Security experts already are expressing fears that executions intended to deter terrorists will cause violent retaliation instead.

The International Business Times quoted David Otto, CEO of UK-based global security provider TGS Intelligence Consultants, David Otto, as saying that Boko Haram will "surely react" by expanding its violence farther south in Cameroon.

"The government has no clue on the potential martyrdom effects this will create," Otto said. "One must be reminded that no amount of punishment frightens a man who is not afraid of death."

Boko Haram aims to institute Sharia, or Islamic law. It has killed at least 20,000 people since its insurgency began in Nigeria in 2009 and spread to neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Source: wmur.com, March 19, 2016

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