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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…

Bangladesh war crimes: 3 get death penalty, 5 jailed for life

The verdict came as the prosecution accused all the 8 of 5 charges relating to crimes like mass murders, abductions, tortures and looting.

3 Islamists were handed down death penalty while 5 others jailed until death by a special tribunal in Bangladesh for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 liberation war with Pakistan.

A 3-member panel of judges of Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-BD) led by Justice Anwarul Haque pronounced the judgement as 2 of the convicts appeared on the dock while 6 others were tried in absentia as they were on the run to evade justice.

The verdict came as the prosecution accused all the eight of five charges relating to crimes like mass murders, abductions, tortures and lootings.

Prosecution lawyers said 6 of the convicts were members of infamous Al-badr auxiliary force of the Pakistani troops during the war and carried out atrocities in northern Jamalpur district.

The 2 others belonged to Razakar, another Bengali-manned armed group raised by Pakistanis during the war.

Manned by activists of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, which was opposed to Bangladesh's 1971 independence from Pakistan, the Al-Badr appeared as an extremely notorious force by carrying out ruthless atrocities siding with Pakistani troops.

The verdict came amid a nationwide tension following the recent 2 back-to-back Islamist terror attacks in the country following which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hinted that Jamaat could be behind the assaults.

Bangladesh has so far executed 4 war crimes convicts since the process began to try the top Bengali perpetrators of 1971 atrocities in line with the electoral commitment of Prime Minister Hasina in 2008.

Source: indianexpress.com, July 18, 2016


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