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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…

Five Hanged in Northern Iran, One in Public, Four at Ghezel Hesar on Drug Charges

Public hanging in Iran (file photo)
Public hanging in Iran (file photo)
Five prisoners hanged in northern Iran in the span of two days: one in public on murder charges and four at Ghezel Hesar Prison on drug charges.

Iran Human Rights (May 5 2016): A prisoner with murder charges was reportedly hanged in public in the city of Nur (located in the northern province of Mazandaran) on the morning of Monday May 2. State-run agency, Iran News, has identified the prisoner who was hanged in public as "Avaz". 

On Tuesday May 3, four prisoners with drug related charges were hanged at Ghezel Hesar Prison (located in the northern city of Karaj). 

According to close sources, these four prisoners have been identified as: Reza Hosseini, Majid Imani, Abdolhamid Bameri, and Ahmad Altafi. Reza Hosseini was reportedly transferred to Ghezel Hesar from Tehran Central Prison (also known as Fashafouye) for his execution. 

Iranian official sources, include state media and the Judiciary, have been silent about these four executions.

Iran Human Rights (May 3 2016): On Sunday May 1, one prisoner was reportedly hanged at Nahavand Prison (in the western province of Hamadan) and two prisoners were reportedly hanged at Mashhad Central Prison (in the northeastern province of Razavi Khorasan).

According to a report by the Judiciary in Hamadan, the prisoner hanged at Nahavand was executed on murder charges. The report identifies the prisoner only by the initials, M.R.

The state-run news site, Rokna, reported on the executions of the two unrelated prisoners in Mashhad, but did not publish their names or initials. According to the report, one of the prisoners was hanged on murder charges while the other was a 25-year-old hanged on rape charges.

Source: Iran Human Rights, May 5, 2016

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