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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 court sentences two to death for killing army colonel

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Dubai: A Saudi court sentenced two men it said were Al Qaida followers to death on charges of decapitating a Saudi intelligence service colonel in 2007, local media reported on Tuesday.

The men attacked Colonel Nasser Al Othman at his farm near the city of Buraidah in northern Saudi Arabia, tied him up and severed his head because they viewed him as an apostate, online news website sabq.org said, citing the court ruling.

Between 2003 and 2006, Al Qaida carried out a campaign of attacks in the kingdom against Western and Saudi targets that killed hundreds of people.

Since stamping out the insurgency, Saudi Arabia has convicted and sentenced hundreds of people to prison or death for militancy. It executed dozens on January 2.

In Tuesday’s verdict, a third man was sentenced to 30 years in jail for attempting to kill the commander of emergency forces in Saudi Arabia’s northern Qassim region, Dubai-based Al Arabiya television channel said.

The court ruling, published by Al Arabiya on its website, did not identify the three convicted men.

A Justice Ministry spokesman confirmed the court verdict was an initial ruling which was subject to levels of appeal before it can be implemented.

Death sentences must be signed by the king before they are carried out.

Saudi Arabia says its justice system is fair and independent.

Since 2014 Daesh, like Al Qaida, has carried out attacks in the kingdom that have killed dozens and led to hundreds of arrests.

Source: Reuters, July 26, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

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