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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…

Indonesia will maintain death penalty for drugs traffickers

The government will continue to hand out the death sentence to big players in drug trafficking world despite criticism from foreign countries and human rights activists, arguing that consistency in law enforcement is the key to success in curbing the distribution of drugs.

"The best way to reduce the trafficking of drugs is through consistency. We have no tolerance for drug dealers," said the Jakarta head of the National Narcotics Board (BNN), Brig. Gen. Ali Johardi at a press conference in Jakarta to launch the annual International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report on Thursday.

The country manager of the UN office on drugs and crime (UNODC) in Indonesia, Collie F. Brown, took the opportunity to reinstate the UN's opposition to the death penalty. Brown urged countries to find an alternative punishment for drug traffickers.

Attorney General M Prasetyo has stressed that a third round of drug convict executions would be carried out this year.

To date, 14 drugs drug convicts have been executed. The previous executions received strong criticism from anti-death penalty activists and caused a temporary souring of diplomatic relations with a number of countries including Brazil and Australia.

Johardi said the government was considering the development of a prison island, which will be used for drug-lord convicts, an idea proposed by BNN chief Budi Waseso.

There is a possibility, the idea was further discussed during the agency's recent meeting with the House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal affairs, Johardi added.

Source: Jakarta Post, March 4, 2016

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