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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…

Indonesia's Govt prepares legal aid for 208 Indonesians facing death penalty abroad

Indonesia: Double standard
Indonesia's double standard
The government is stepping up its efforts to spare the lives of 208 Indonesians abroad who are facing the death penalty, an official said on Thursday.

As of May 2016, 154 of the Indonesian nationals on death row overseas were in Malaysia, with the majority of their cases relating to murder and drug offenses, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said.

He said the government would continue to provide legal assistance to Indonesians abroad who are facing trouble with the law, saying there was cause for optimism as data indicated that the lives of 285 death-row inmates had been spared between 2011 until 2016.

Furthermore, as a preventative measure, Indonesian representatives abroad have recently been conducting intensive legal awareness outreach programs to reduce the number of such cases in the future, he added.

"We will continue to work to spare Indonesians from the death penalty, however, in a way that is in accordance with the applicable laws of the country concerned," he told journalists at the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta on Thursday.

Back-to-back cases of Indonesian citizens facing capital punishment overseas have come into the media spotlight recently.

In the latest case, migrant worker Daryanti was charged on Thursday in Singapore for allegedly murdering her female employer, Seow Kim Choo, on Tuesday night, as reported by local newspaper The Straits Times.

Lawyer Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed has been appointed by the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore to represent Daryanti, Arrmanatha said.

The case will be heard in court again in three weeks time, on June 29, and if convicted of murder, Daryanti could face the death penalty.

Upon being informed of the case, the embassy had immediately contacted the suspect and informed her that they would continue to support her throughout the legal process, he added.

In another recent case, migrant worker Rita Krisdianti was sentenced to capital punishment by the Penang High Court in Malaysia on May 30 for her alleged involvement in drug smuggling.

The government plans to lodge an appeal of Rita’s verdict, Arrmanatha said.

"There's still time within the 14-workday deadline following the sentencing to lodge an appeal," he added.

Indonesia itself implements the death penalty for drug offenses, to the firm objection of human rights activists and foreign countries whose citizens are executed.

Source: Jakarta Post, Liza Yosephine, June 10, 2016

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