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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…

Amnesty: Iran regime executed nearly 1000 people in 2015

Public execution in Iran
Public execution in Iran
Iran's regime executed close to a thousand people, including juvenile offenders, in 2015 and largely fueled the "dramatic global rise" in the number of executions recorded last year which saw more people put to death than at any point in the last quarter-century, Amnesty International said in a report on Wednesday.

"Iran put at least 977 people to death in 2015, compared to at least 743 the year before," Amnesty International wrote in its annual Death penalty 2015 report.

"Iran is also one of the world's last executioners of juvenile offenders, in flagrant breach of international law," the report said. The Iranian regime put to death at least four people who were under 18 at the time of the crime for which they were convicted in 2015, the human rights group said.

"Iran alone accounted for 82% of all executions recorded" in the Middle East and North Africa, Amnesty said, adding that the regime continued to sentence people to death for crimes - including drug trafficking, corruption, "adultery" and "blasphemy."

According to Amnesty's figures, the Iranian regime was responsible last year for nearly 60 % of all executions in the world with the exception of those in China.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General, said that the Iranian regime put people to death at "unprecedented levels, often after grossly unfair trials."

"This slaughter must end," he said.

Source: NCR-Iran, April 6, 2016

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