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Innocent on Death Row? New Evidence Casts Doubt on Convictions

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Rodney Reed’s death sentence was suspended. But researchers say other current cases raise similar doubt about the guilt of the accused.
The number of executions in the United States remains close to nearly a three-decade low. And yet the decline has not prevented what those who closely track the death penalty see as a disturbing trend: a significant number of cases in which prisoners are being put to death, or whose execution dates are near, despite questions about their guilt.
Rodney Reed, who came within days of execution in Texas before an appeals court suspended his death sentence on Friday, has been the most high-profile recent example, receiving support from Texas lawmakers of both parties and celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West, who urged a new examination of the evidence.
Mr. Reed has long maintained that he did not commit the 1996 murder for which he was convicted. And in recent months, new witnesses came forward pointing toward another possible suspect: the dead…

Saudi regime carries out 86th beheading in 2016

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi Arabia has decapitated a Pakistani national after sentencing him to death for smuggling drugs, bringing to 86 the number of such executions in the kingdom since the start of this year.

The convicted Pakistani man, identified as Shah Zaman Khan Sayyed, was beheaded in the Riyadh region, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The man was found guilty of attempting to smuggle heroin and amphetamines into the kingdom, the interior ministry added.

Beheading with a sword is the most common form of execution in Saudi Arabia. 

Saudi authorities carry out beheading of a convicted man in public.

The latest beheading occurred as US President Barack Obama is on a 2-day visit to the oppressive kingdom.

Before Obama left for Riyadh to meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Britain-based international right group Amnesty International wrote a letter, urging him to consider the country's human rights issues.

In the most stunning case this year, Saudi Arabia executed on January 2 prominent cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr along 46 other people in defiance of international calls for the release of the prominent Shia cleric and other jailed political dissidents in the kingdom.

Saudi authorities have beheaded several opposition figures and dissidents in recent years.

Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions, including 71 foreign nationals, in 2015. This number of executions in terms of annual basis in Saudi Arabia has been unseen since 1995.

Riyadh has been under fire for having one of the world's highest execution rates.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has called on the Saudi regime to abolish its "ghastly" beheadings.

Under the Saudi law, apostasy, armed robbery, drug trafficking, rape, homosexuality and murder carry the death penalty. Most Saudi executions are carried out by beheading with a sword.

In summer 2015, Saudi Arabia, with an appalling human rights record, was appointed to head an important panel at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 22, 2016

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