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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…

Indonesia: Human Rights Watchdog Calls for End to Capital Punishment

Indonesia's Special Police Force
Indonesia's Special Police Force
As preparations for the third round of executions continue on Nusakambangan Island near Cilacap, Central Java, human rights activists and legal academics have criticized Indonesia's continued use of capital punishment.

Respublica Political Institute executive director Benny Sabdo said the death penalty is a violation of human rights, inhumane and ineffective as a form of punishment.

"The death sentence still applies in the United States, but violent crime rates are still high there. Meanwhile in Canada, where capital punishment has been abolished, crime rates have receded," the law professor said on Wednesday (18/05).

Benny believes capital punishment equals man playing God.

"Punishments for crime should not violate basic human rights, and should not degrade human dignity in any way," said the professor, who also believes that the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent to crime.

According to Amnesty International, Indonesia is 1 of 37 United Nations member states that continue to use the death penalty in law and practice, while 102 have completely abolished it for all crimes.

The University of Indonesia constitutional law alumni emphasized that death row inmates are not objects and therefore still entitled to basic human rights. He added that Indonesia must be consistent in enforcing human rights for all.

Besides Indonesians, citizens of China, Nigeria and Zimbabwe are expected to be on the list of inmates facing the firing squad in the third round of executions.

Source: Jakarta Globe, May 18, 2016

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