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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…

Iraq: 20 executed, 70 waiting: Minister

March 13, 2016: Iraqi Justice Minister Haidar al-Zamili disclosed that 20 death verdicts were executed on March 6 for different charges, including Arab terrorists. 

He added that the ministry has 65-70 other execution verdicts which await implementation after the final approvals of the judicial authorities. 

Minister Zamili added that some of the convicted terrorists are from Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi and Iraqis. 

Among the executed prisoners there was Saudi Abdullah Mahmous Sydat, who was being held in Al-Nasiryah Prison, south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

According to Al-Riyadh newspaper, the Iraqi Ministry of Justice pronounced the death sentence for Sydat after convicting him of terrorism.

According to the newspaper, the Iraqi ministry notified the Saudi Embassy in Bagdad of the conviction and actual execution of Sydat a few days ago. Sources confirmed, however, that the execution was carried out on March 6 and that the embassy was only notified of the decision after the execution took place.

The family of the prisoner said they were notified about his execution on March 10 by the Iraqi Ministry of Justice, but were not given any further details.

Sydat left the Kingdom for Iraq in 2007 and was arrested on charges of terrorism during his time there. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, which was later upgraded to the death sentence.

The man, who has two children, had asked that he be buried in Madinah. 

Sources: Hands Off Cain, arabnews.com, Iraq TradeLink, March 13, 2016

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