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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…

Murderer executed in Saudi Arabia; 72nd execution this year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
He was found guilty of shooting dead a man following a dispute

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia executed one of its nationals convicted of murder on Sunday, bringing to 72 the number of people put to death in the conservative kingdom this year.

Hadian Al Qahtani was found guilty of shooting dead Abdullah Al Qaoud following a dispute, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Most people executed in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword.

The executions so far this year include 47 for terrorism carried out in a single day on January 2.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia executed 153 people, most of them for drug trafficking or murder, according to an AFP count.

The kingdom has a strict legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, Gulf News, March 14, 2016

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