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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…

Saudi Arabia: 5 executed as toll hits 69

Public execution in Saudi Arabia
Public execution in Saudi Arabia
March 1, 2016: A Qatari and a Jordanian were among five people executed in Saudi Arabia, bringing to 69 the number of people it has put to death this year.

The Qatari, Mohammed Jarboui, was executed in the eastern region of Al-Ahsa after being convicted of murdering a Saudi, the interior ministry said.

Sliman and Ahmed Messoudi were put to death in the northern Tabuk region for trafficking amphetamines, the ministry said in a separate statement.

The Jordanian, Abdallah Tayaha, was also convicted of amphetamine trafficking. He was put to death in the northwestern Jawf region, it said.

Amphetamines are stimulants most often targeted at students and labourers in the kingdom, interior ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki told reporters last week.

He added that war-ravaged Syria has become one of the biggest producers of the drug.

The fifth person to be executed was Kassadi Atoudi, put to death in the southern region of Jazan following his conviction for murder. 

Source: Middle East Online, March 2, 2016

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