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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.
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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…

Bali Nine member Renae Lawrence has sentence cut by six months

Bali's notorious Kerobokan prison
Bali's notorious Kerobokan prison
BALI Nine member Renae Lawrence has today had another six months shaved off her 20-year sentence for drug trafficking.

Lawrence was among thousands of prisoners across Indonesia awarded a sentence remission as part of the country’s Independence Day celebrations.

Three other Australians jailed at Kerobokan prison also had between one and six months cut from their sentences.

But fellow Bali Nine members, Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen, who have for years tried to have their life sentences reduced, have so far not received any news of a sentence cut.

Under Indonesian law, prisoners serving life terms do not qualify for the yearly remissions but can apply for a determinate sentence of 20 years. They have applied each year but so far not been awarded the reduced sentence.

Norman and Chen today displayed the work of their rehabilitation programs at the jail’s Independence Day celebration.

Both told of their hopes to one day be freed from Kerobokan prison and to return home to Australia to their families.

Norman is working on graphic design, designing works for t-shirts, bags and posters and Chen runs a silversmith workshop in the jail. Before their executions, in April 2015, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, also worked on the projects.

Norman told News Corporation today that he dreams of being freed and redeeming himself and still believes that one day he will get a sentence reduction.

“I don’t believe I would die in this place. If it (reduction) doesn’t happen this year we try again next year,” Norman said.

“We are not getting any younger. It would be good to go home soon and start our lives again with all the skills we have learned in here. It would be good to go home and start fresh.”

Asked about his dream for the future, Norman said: “Redeem myself … and make my family proud again. That’s it.”

Norman was speaking whilst showcasing the work of graphic design being done within the jail’s rehabilitation programs including designs.

Bali Nine member Renae Lawrence and her partner, Kerobokan prison
Bali Nine member Renae Lawrence and her partner, Kerobokan prison
“It is exciting and fun, something different to do in here, a new skill to learn, so it is really good,” Norman said.

“I am interested in learning, it is a skill that I can use in here and who knows, in the future, so I am excited to learn.

Si Yi Chen said he too has hope of one day having his life sentenced commuted to 20 years.

“I am still a human being so I still need hope,” Chen said, adding the hope kept him going each day.
So too does the work he does on a silversmith program, designing and making silver jewellery.

Norman and Chen are the only two members of the Bali Nine now held in Kerobokan jail. Renae Lawrence is in a different jail in Bali, as is Scott Rush.

Martin Stephens, Tan Duch Tanh Nguyen and Michael Czugaj are in jails in Java, having been moved by authorities.

Several other Australians jailed in Kerobokan also received sentence cuts today, including Edward Myatt, who is serving an eight-year sentence on drugs charges, who received a six month remission.

Perth man Eric Gillett, jailed for two years over a fraud involving the sale of Bali villas and Scott Dobson, sentenced to 16 months jail for a Kuta nightclub assault, both received one month remissions.

The amount of remissions awarded increases the longer a prisoner has served of their sentence.

Source: news.com.au, August 17, 2016

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