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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…

EU Condemns Death Sentences in Gaza for Suspected Collaborators With Israel

Execution of Hani Abu Alyian in the Gaza Strip on October 2,  2013
Hamas execution of Hani Abu Alyian in  Gaza on October 2,  2013
The European Union released a statement earlier today in which it condemned the military courts in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for sentencing to death 5 convicts accused of collaborating with Israel.

"The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah condemn the 5 death sentences issued by military courts in the Gaza Strip on 18 April," said the EU statement. "These include 3 new death sentences and the confirmation of 2 previous ones, all on the grounds of collaboration with enemy forces."

"This brings to ten the total number of death sentences to be issued in Gaza this year," the EU added.

Death sentences for convicted informants and collaborators with Israel are nothing new for the Hamas regime as the terror organization has executed many such individuals over the years. 

However, the EU focused less on opposition to the punishment of suspected collaborators with Israel and more on the use of the death penalty in general.

"As in their most recent statement on 13 April, the EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah recall the EU's firm opposition under all circumstances to the use of capital punishment," the EU stressed in its statement.

"It considers capital punishment to be cruel and inhuman, that it fails to provide deterrence to criminal behavior, and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity," the statement continued.

The EU expressed its belief that the removal of the death penalty would help to serve as a step forward in the advancement of human rights under the Hamas terror regime in Gaza.

The EU also asked that the Hamas authorities in Gaza abide by the decision of the Palestinian Authority, which only governs over Palestinian communities in Judea and Samaria and not in Gaza, to implement a moratorium on the death penalty.

"The authorities in Gaza must refrain from carrying out any executions of prisoners and comply with the moratorium on executions put in place by the Palestinian Authority, pending abolition of the death penalty in line with the global trend," insisted the EU.

Sources: Tazpit News Agency/Jewish Press, April 20, 2016

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