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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…

Hamas sentences 3 'spies for Israel' to death

Executing alleged collaborators with Israel in Gaza city in August 2014
Executing alleged collaborators with Israel in Gaza city in August 2014
Military court in Gaza sentences 3 local residents to death after they were convicted of spying for Israel.

A military court in Gaza on Tuesday sentenced 3 local residents to death after they were convicted of providing information to Israel's security services.

The Palestinian Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the security forces and which is controlled by Hamas in Gaza, said that the Supreme Military Court sentenced to death by strangling and shooting the 3 men, who according to the statement handed over information that harmed the public interest and the Palestinian national security.

The trial of the "spies" was held behind closed doors and without the presence of the media.

Hamas regularly claims to have captured "Israeli spies", and many times it tries them and sentences them to death.

In 1 such example, the group claimed to have exposed "the most dangerous intelligence agent" who allegedly worked for the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

More recently, Hamas claimed it arrested an intelligence agent who had provided information to Israel for 14 years and who allegedly assisted in providing information which led to the elimination of terrorists and in the bombings of houses in Gaza.

Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel is punishable by death. All death sentences, however, require the approval of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who issued a moratorium on death sentences in 2005.

Hamas ignores the moratorium and carries out the executions anyway, as it no longer recognizes the legitimacy of Abbas, whose four-year term expired in 2009.

Amnesty International has previously called on Hamas to stop the executions of suspected collaborators, saying that the group "must immediately and totally cease its use of the death penalty."

Source: Israel National News, July 20, 2016


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