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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 prepares for next round of executions as foreign embassy receives execution notice

Zulfikar Ali (Pakistan) has been moved from Cilacap's Hospital to Batu Prison on Nusa Kambangan Island.
Zulfikar Ali (Pakistan) has been moved from Cilacap's
Hospital to Batu Prison on Nusa Kambangan Island.
Indonesia is preparing for the next round of executions, which could take place within days.

The ABC has been told the Nigerian embassy in Jakarta has been asked to visit four of its nationals at Nusa Kambangan prison in Cilacap tomorrow, indicating the executions could be soon.

An Indonesian woman who was sentenced to death for carrying more than a kilogram of heroin has been transferred to the execution island, and her family has also been asked to visit her there.

The prisoners will be given three days' notice before they face the firing squad.

It will be the first round of executions of drug smugglers since 14 people, including Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, were executed last year.

The Indonesian Government had indicated the executions would be held after the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which ended earlier this month.

It is unclear how many prisoners will be executed in this round.

The Central Java police chief, who covers Cilacap, said he was yet to receive official notification from the Government.

The ABC has been told the four Nigerians facing the firing squad are Eugene Ape, Humprey Ejike, Michael Titus Igweh and Obinna Nwajagu.

The ABC has also learnt that Pakistan's embassy has received a notice from the Indonesian Government that one of their nationals will be executed soon.

Zulfikar Ali (Pakistan) has just been moved from the Cilacap Regional Hospital back to Batu Prison in Nusa Kambangan (known as 'the execution island'). Zulfikar has a number of serious illnesses. According to some sources, Zulfikar Ali will be executed this week.

Source: abc.net.au, Samantha Hawley, July 25, 2016


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