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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…

'They electrocuted me' says Indonesia's death-row prisoner nearing execution

Michael Titus Igweh
Michael Titus Igweh
A Nigerian man facing imminent execution in Indonesia tearfully told a court that police electrocuted his genitals to force him to confess to possessing heroin.

Michael Titus Igweh is among several prisoners on death row whom lawyers and human rights groups are frantically lobbying to save from the firing squad amid claims they were tortured and their legal cases riddled with corruption, errors and miscarriages of justice.

"I was constantly beaten, and my genitals electrocuted until I was helpless," the clothes importer, who was sentenced to death in 2003 for possessing 5.8 kilograms of heroin, told the Tangerang District Court in May. "In fact, I was threatened to be shot."

Sources have told Fairfax Media the third wave of executions in Indonesia could be held within days. It is understood the Nigerian and Pakistani embassies have now been notified that their nationals are among those to be killed.

Indonesian Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo reiterated on Friday the executions would be "soon" and would include Indonesians and possibly a woman. Mr Prasetyo had earlier said prisoners from Nigeria and Zimbabwe would be among those targeted.

In a further ominous sign the executions could be just days away, prison visits have this week been suspended to the penal island of Nusakambangan, where the prisoners will be strapped to wooden posts and shot in a field.

Fourteen drug offenders were executed in Indonesia last year, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, sparking an international backlash.

However the Indonesian government insists executions are necessary to combat a so-called drugs emergency.

"The public want it to be done soon," Attorney-General Prasetyo said on Friday. "We are getting more informed now and can see how drugs have affected our younger generation. We could just lose a generation."


Source: The Sydney Morning Telegraph, Jewel Topsfield, Amilia Rosa, Karuni Rompies, July 24, 2016


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