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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: Anti-Narcotics Agency to Question Former Nusakambangan Prison Warden After Drug-Trafficker’s Testimony

Death row isolation cells on Nusakambangan penal island
Death row isolation cells on Nusakambangan penal island
Jakarta. The National Anti-Narcotics Agency, or BNN, will summon a former chief warden of the Nusakambangan Prison, Liberty Sitinjak, as part of its investigation into a testimony from executed drug trafficker Freddy Budiman made public by human rights activist Haris Azhar, an official said on Sunday (07/08).

Haris, coordinator of the Jakarta-based Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), had revealed the explosive testimony which contained allegations of complicity by state officials in a drug trafficking syndicate.

Officers belonging to the National Police, the anti-narcotics agency and the Indonesian Military (TNI) allegedly helped Freddy to operate his drug business from inside the prison. Haris published Freddy's testimony a day before the drug lord faced the firing squad alongside three African drug convicts.

"We plan to question [Liberty Sitinjak] at 9 a.m. on Monday," BNN spokesman Slamet Pribadi told Kompas.com on Sunday.

Liberty will be asked to explain several details in Freddy’s testimony, which when published carried the title "The Story of a Bandit: testimony from a meeting with Freddy Budiman in Nusakambangan Prison (2014)."

In the testimony, Haris said that Liberty had worked very hard to improve security at the notorious prison and protect the integrity of its wardens.

According to the article, Liberty once installed two CCTV cameras inside Freddy’s cell but high-ranking officers from the BNN had ordered him to remove the surveillance cameras.

"I thought that was strange, why would the agency object to the surveillance cameras? Isn’t Freddy a high-profile criminal who must be monitored strictly?" Haris wrote in the article.

In the article, Freddy claimed that Indonesian law enforcers – especially officers from the National Police and BNN – had helped him run his drug trafficking business whose profit ran into billions of rupiah.

Freddy had reportedly given more than Rp 450 billion ($34 million) to BNN officers and Rp 90 billion to high-ranking officials in the National Police as kickback payment, the article said.

Source: Jakarta Globe, August 7, 2016

AG Supports Probe Into Freddy Budiman's Testimony, Calls for Evidence


Jakarta. Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo has voiced his support of a probe into the statements of Haris Azhar, activist of the Jakarta-based Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, or Kontras, after he alleged several law enforcement officials received bribes from executed drug convict Freddy Budiman.

"I fully support the inquiry into this case. However, the parties who provide the information, even if it came from the drug lord, should supply the evidence to ease the investigation," the attorney general said in Jakarta on Friday (05/08).

In addressing Haris Azhar's statement, Prasetyo deplored that the information was revealed after Freddy's execution.

"The information has been delivered too late. If it were revealed earlier, as it has been said that it was conveyed in 2014, why would he [Haris] reveal it after the execution and to the public?" Prasetyo said.

As the case involves many parties, Prasetyo believes Haris is obliged to provide evidence.

Source: Jakarta Globe, August 5, 2016

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