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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…

Indonesian police, troops tighten security for next executions

Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso
Indonesian police and troops are tightening security on Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java ahead of the next round of drug convict executions.

An exact time and date have yet to be announced, but Central Java Police chief Insp. Gen.Condro Kirono said on Saturday that police were ready to carry out the executions.

"It's just a matter of time; the executors are ready. What I am doing is making sure that everything is well prepared," Condro said after inspecting the venue and readiness of police executors on the prison island.

The Central Java Police headquarters has also provided doctors and spiritualists to check the physical and mental health conditions of the convicts, Condro said.

The law and human rights minister has confirmed the next batch of executions will be carried out, adding that all technical preparations, including the venue of the executions had been prepared.

"We are waiting for the order to do so," Mulyanto, the custodial division head of the Central Java office of the Law and Human Rights Ministry, told The Jakarta Post.

Attorney General HM Prasetyo said earlier that a list of the convicts to be executed had been made, but has not released the list.

Filipino excluded

Philippines national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso has been excluded from the list of the 3rd round of executions prepared by the Attorney General's Office ( AGO ), as legal procedures continue in a separate but related case in her country.

Amid outrage from human rights activists worldwide and governments, Indonesia executed 14 drugs convicts last year.

Veloso was on the execution list last year but was granted a stay of execution because her alleged boss had been arrested in the Philippines, and the authorities there requested Indonesian assistance in pursuing the case.

According to the AGO, there were 64 drug convicts on death row as of 2015. To date, 14 drug criminals were executed in separate rounds on Jan 18 and April 29 last year, with 6 and 8 people in each batch, respectively.

Nusakambangan island is located in the Indian Ocean, separated by a narrow strait off the southern coast of Java. The island is notorious for its maximum security prisons, home to convicted murderers, terrorists, drug traffickers and those convicted in high-profile corruption cases. It is also known as execution island because the island is the central location for carrying out capital punishment around Java

Source: The Jakarta Post, April 30, 2016

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