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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…

Man hanged in public in southern Iran city

A medieval theocracy, barbaric punishments: Shiraz, Iran, May 26, 2016
A medieval theocracy, barbaric punishments: Shiraz, Iran, May 26, 2016
Iran's fundamentalist regime on Thursday publicly hanged a man in the southern city of Shiraz.

The regime's judiciary in Fars Province, southern Iran, in a May 26 statement identified the victim only as Hamid B.

According to Iran Human Rights, the execution was carried out in front of a crowd of onlookers.

A report by the Judiciary in Fars identifies the prisoner as "Hamid B.", sentenced to death over rape charges.

The reports says the prisoner was arrested in 2006 and caught with 46 kilograms of hashish. According to the report, "Hamid" was accused of kidnapping and rape.

The regime mass executed on Wednesday 11 prisoners in their twenties, including at least 1 who is believed to have been only 16 at the time of his alleged offence. Another 5 prisoners were executed on Tuesday in Ghezel-Hessar Prison of Karaj and Adelabad Prison of Shiraz.

Another prisoner was hanged in public in Ramsar, northern Iran, after spending 8 years in prison.

Iran's fundamentalist regime has sharply increased its rate of executions, carrying out at least 21 hangings in a 48-hour period last week.

Ms. Farideh Karimi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, on Wednesday called for an urgent response by the United Nations and foreign governments to the appalling state of human rights in Iran.

"The rising number of mass executions in Iran in recent weeks clearly shows that the regime has in no way decided to change its disgraceful human rights record. Any claim of moderation under Hassan Rouhani is simply a myth. It is high time for the United Nations and human rights organizations to speak out against the brutal executions by the mullahs' regime and send Iran's human rights dossier before the UN Security Council," she said.

The latest hanging brings to at least 116 the number of people executed in Iran since April 10. 3 of those executed were women and 2 are believed to have been juvenile offenders.

Iran's fundamentalist regime earlier this month amputated the fingers of a man in his thirties in Mashhad, the latest in a line of draconian punishments handed down and carried out in recent weeks.

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: NCR-Iran, May 27, 2016

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