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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…

Belarus: Execution of Syarhey Iwanow and confirmation of Sergei Khmelevsky's death sentence

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko
Statement by the Spokesperson on the execution of Syarhey Iwanow and of the confirmation of the death sentence against Sergei Khmelevsky.

Despite the many calls made by the European Union, another execution has been carried out in Belarus. The case of Syarhey Iwanow, who had been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Belarus in March 2015, is particularly disturbing in light of the fact that his complaint was pending with the UN Human Rights Committee.

The death sentence against Sergei Khmelevsky, which was upheld by the Belarus Supreme Court on 6 May, has also been confirmed.

The European Union opposes capital punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent to crime and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity. Over the last decades, numerous countries have realised that the death penalty cannot be justified under any circumstances and have stopped applying it.

We expect Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.

Source: diplomaticintelligence.eu, May 7, 2016


EU Condemns Belarus Over Execution

Country remains only nation in Europe still applying the death penalty.

The European Union has expressed concern following recent reports of an execution in Belarus.

In a 7 May statement EU officials called the execution of convicted murderer Syarhey Iwanow “particularly disturbing” given the fact that his complaint was pending with the UN Human Rights Committee.

The statement also mentions another prisoner Sergei Khmelevsky, whose death sentence has already been confirmed by the Belarusian Supreme Court.

“We expect Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition,” the statement notes.

At the moment, Belarus is the only UN member state in Europe that still hasn’t abolished the death penalty. In 2015 two Belarusian citizens were executed. 

Over 400 people have been executed in the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The use of capital punishment has been one factor keeping the country out of the Council of Europe. 

In a 1996 referendum, 80.44 percent of Belarusians were against abolishing the capital punishment.

Source: TOL, May 9, 2016

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