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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…

Saudi Prince to meet Ban Ki Moon, as juveniles await beheading

UN building in NYC
The UN Secretary-General must use a meeting with the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia tomorrow to call for the release of three Saudi juveniles who face beheading after allegedly attending protests, human rights organization Reprieve has said.

Emergency Action: UN Secretary General must ask Saudi Arabia to stop juvenile executions. Email the UN Secretary General now.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman will tomorrow (22nd) meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in New York, in the latest of a series of diplomatic meetings that included a trip to the White House last Friday. The meeting takes place amid fears for the fate of three juveniles who have been sentenced to death after they allegedly attended protests in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province in 2012.

Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al Zaher and Dawood al-Marhoon – who are assisted by Reprieve – were all under 18 when they were arrested and tortured into ‘confessions’, which were later used to convict them in secretive trials. Last autumn, they were informed that their final appeals had been rejected. They could now be executed at any time.

Saudi Arabia has executed a record number of prisoners this year; a mass execution carried out on January 2nd saw at least two juveniles killed. One of them, Ali al-Ribh, had been arrested in school in the wake of the Eastern Province protests.

The execution of juveniles and prisoners arrested for non-violent alleged crimes is prohibited under international law. Research carried out by Reprieve last year found that, of those prisoners identified as facing execution in Saudi Arabia, some 72 per cent had been arrested for non-violent crimes, including political protest.

Commenting, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “The Saudi authorities are engaged in unprecedented levels of repression – Prince Mohammed’s trip cannot mask his government’s skyrocketing use of torture, secret trials and beheadings. Among those who face execution for allegedly attending protests are juveniles Ali, Dawood and Abdullah, and it is crucial that Ban Ki Moon and other heads of state do not miss a crucial opportunity to raise their cases. The Secretary General must make clear to the Prince tomorrow that these terrible abuses in Saudi Arabia must stop – and that Ali, Dawood and Abdullah must be released.”


Source: Reprieve, June 21, 2016

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