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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…

"The Iron Red Door", freely adapted from Hugo's novel The Last Day of a Condemned Man

The Iron Red Door is the passage through which the bodies of executed prisoners get out of Thailand's infamous prison “Bang Kwang.”

Every time this door opens one more human being has been killed. It doesn't matter if he was innocent or guilty; it doesn’t matter if he was a poor western immigrant doing art in an Asian metropolis. It only matters that they kill someone.

The Red Iron Door is freely adapted from Victor Hugo's novel The Last Day of a Condemned Man, one of the world's most powerful manifest against the death penalty, and incorporates excerpts from Pier Paolo Pasolini's work. The film is shot in Thailand and is about the death penalty in Asia.

Synopsis

It is the day before the execution of Pietro, an Italian artist accused of murdering Rak, a mysterious Thai woman.

Pietro and his wife Nee, who are trying to survive in Bangkok producing artistic theater plays, met Rak during one of their shows.

Rak discovered the beauty of stage-acting and decided to leave her bright future and family to become an actress. But her happy free life abruptly came to an end. During a performance on a boat, the Thai girl vanished mysteriously.

Pietro, an easy target for the prosecution, is sentenced to death. 

Roland, an Interpol officer vaguely acquainted with Pietro, visits the condemned on death row shortly before his execution. Roland has doubts about Pietro's guilt and decides to spend the last 24 hours with Pietro, to find out the truth. 

The whole story becomes a long poetic narration between the present grayness of the cell and the colorful flashbacks of the past, a long travel through modernity and ancient times, fights for power, fights for freedom, death, theater and the hazards of a fascinating yet dangerous city.

The backdrop is Bangkok, a dazzling city, a city made sick by superficiality and capitalism, a city, full of contradictions, in a climate of civil war.

The Iron Red Door
  • Executive Producer: Ulf Pilblad and Patchanee Poonthong
  • Director: Maurizio Mistretta
  • Cast: Maurizio Mistretta, Ulf Pilblad and Patchanee Poonthong
  • Country of shooting: Thailand
  • Production date: September 2015
  • Intent to release: September 2016
  • Duration: 90 -100 minutes

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