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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…

Islamist arrested for violent murder of Bangladeshi LGBT editor Xulhaz Mannad

Xulhaz Mannad
Xulhaz Mannad
The murder of magazine editor Xulhaz Mannad shocked Bangladesh late April: Police have announced they may have found one of his killers.

Mannad, 35, was found hacked to death and shot in Dhaka, Bangladesh in a series of attacks on Bangladesh’s intellectual and atheist community.

He was the editor of Bangladesh’s first gay and lesbian magazine, Roopbaan. With Mahbub Tonoy, 25, who was also murdered, he organized the Rainbow Rally on Bengali New Year, 14 April.

They both also worked for the government aid organization, USAID.

The two were killed in brutal fashion by six men armed with machetes and guns. Police have now arrested suspected Islamic militant Shariful Islam Shihab, 37, believing him to be one of the assailants.

‘We’ve arrested one man in connection with the murder of Xulhaz Mannan,’ Dhaka police spokesman Maruf Hossain Sorder said in a press conference.

Shibab is thought to be a member of Harkatul Jihad: a radical Islamist group banned in Bangladesh.

An elderly Buddhist monk was found hacked to death on Saturday in a temple in Bandarban. Three men are currently being held in connection with the killing.

Homosexuality is illegal in Bangladesh and is rarely acknowledged.

Source: Gay Star News, May 15, 2016

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