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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…

Iran regime hangs 4 in Isfahan, amputates thief in Mashhad

NCRI - The mullahs' regime has hanged four prisoners in a notorious jail in Isfahan, central Iran, according to local reports.

The four prisoners, who were not named, were hanged on Sunday in Dastgerd Prison.

Also on Sunday a man was hanged in public in Kermanshah, western Iran, and another man was hanged in a prison in Minab, southern Iran. On Monday two prisoners were hanged in a prison in Orumieh (Urmia), north-west Iran.

The latest hangings bring to at least 70 the number of people executed in Iran since April 10. Three of those executed were women and one is believed to have been a juvenile offender.

Iran's fundamentalist regime on Monday amputated the fingers of a man in his thirties in the city of Mashhad, north-east Iran, the latest in a line of draconian punishments handed down and carried out in recent weeks.

The state-run Khorasan newspaper identified the victim by his initials M. T., adding that he was 39 years old. The prisoner was accused of theft and is also serving a 3-year jail sentence.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in a statement on April 13 that the increasing trend of executions “aimed at intensifying the climate of terror to rein in expanding protests by various strata of the society, especially at a time of visits by high-ranking European officials, demonstrates that the claim of moderation is nothing but an illusion for this medieval regime.”

Amnesty International in its April 6 annual Death Penalty report covering the 2015 period wrote: "Iran put at least 977 people to death in 2015, compared to at least 743 the year before."

"Iran alone accounted for 82% of all executions recorded" in the Middle East and North Africa, the human rights group said.

There have been more than 2,300 executions during Hassan Rouhani’s tenure as President. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran in March announced that the number of executions in Iran in 2015 was greater than any year in the last 25 years. Rouhani has explicitly endorsed the executions as examples of “God’s commandments” and “laws of the parliament that belong to the people.”

Source: NCRI, May 11, 2016


Iran regime chops off man’s hand as punishment

Medieval and barbaric: Public amputation in Iran (file photo)
Medieval Islamic Law: Public amputation in Iran (file photo)
NCRI - Iran's fundamentalist regime has amputated the fingers of a man in his thirties in the city of Mashhad, north-east Iran, the latest in a line of draconian punishments handed down and carried out in recent weeks.

The inhumane sentence was carried out on Monday in the Central Prison of Mashhad. The state-run Khorasan newspaper identified the victim by his initials M. T., adding that he was 39 years old. The prisoner was accused of theft and is also serving a 3-year jail sentence.

The sentence was upheld by the regime's Court of Appeal.

The regime's prosecutor in Mashhad, Gholamali Sadeqi, said: "One of the most important policies in the current year is confronting criminals and carrying out sentences precisely and decisively.”

Commenting on the amputation, Ms. Farideh Karimi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, on Tuesday said:

“In the past two weeks the regime has carried out numerous medieval punishments including flogging a woman in public on April 27 in Golpayegan, approving a sentence to blind a man with acid, yesterday’s hand amputation, and two public executions in Kermanshah and Nour on May 2. All of these point to the barbarity of the mullahs’ regime which has unfortunately become more worrisome due to the international community’s inaction.”

“It is now incumbent upon [the UN Special Rapporteur of the human rights situation in Iran] Mr. Ahmed Shaheed to urgently take necessary and effective action to halt the wave of executions and medieval tortures,” she added.

Source: NCRI, May 10, 2016

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