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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…

Iran: 7 executed on drug charges

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (AUG 24 2016): Five prisoners were hanged in the prison of Bandar Abbas (southern Iran), reported the official news website of the Iranian Judiciary.

The prisoners who were identified as "H. Gh.", "M. A.", "H. J.", "A. S." and "A. M." were charged with drug offences in different parts of the Hormozgan Province, and according to the report, 7639 kilograms [sic] of narcotic drugs such as opium, heroin and crack has been confiscated from them.

On Sunday August 23, Iran Human Rights reported about the execution of ne prisoner identified as "Habib Jamalzahi" in Bandar Abbas. It is possible that this individual was the same as "H. J." mentioned in this report.

Iran Human Rights (AUG 23 2016): A prisoner on death row for drug related charges was reportedly hanged at Sirjan Prison (Kerman province, southcentral Iran), and one prisoner was reportedly hanged at Bandar Abbas Prison (Hormozgan province, southern Iran) on unknown charges.

According to the unoffocial news source, Baloch Activists Campaign, a prisoner identified as Reza Naruee was hanged on the morning of Thursday August 18 on drug related charges. 

The group also reports on the execution of a prisoner, identified as Habib Jamalhezi, at Bandar Abbas Prison on Sunday August 21 on unknown charges.

Iranian official sources, including the media and Judiciary, have been silent on these two executions.

Earlier, Iran Human Rights had reported on the public execution of two prisoners at Saheli Boulevard in Bandar Abbas on rape charges.

The executions were reportedly carried out on the morning of Wednesday August 17 in front of a crowd of people.

Source: Iran Human Rights, August 23-24, 2016

Iran regime plans to chop off prisoners’ fingers as punishment


Medieval punishments: Judicial amputation in Iran (file photo)
Medieval punishments: Judicial amputation in Iran
 NCRI – Iran's fundamentalist regime plans to amputate the fingers of several prisoners who are accused of stealing, the local judiciary chief of Tehran’s districts 16 and 17 said on Tuesday.

The local judiciary chief, a notorious mullah called Sadeq Rezvani, told the Mizan Online News Agency, which is affiliated to the regime’s Judiciary, that the prisoners were all caught stealing in Tehran in the past five months.

He said that several prisoners have received sentences to each have four of their fingers chopped off. He added that their cases were pending an appeal.

On May 9, 2016, the mullahs’ regime amputated the fingers of a man in his thirties in the city of Mashhad, north-east Iran, the latest in a line of draconian punishments handed down and carried out.

Medieval punishments: Judicial amputation in Iran (file photo)The inhumane sentence was carried out in the Central Prison of Mashhad. The state-run Khorasan newspaper identified the victim by his initials M. T., adding that he was 39 years old. The prisoner was accused of theft and is also serving a 3-year jail sentence.

The sentence was upheld by the regime's Court of Appeal.

The regime's prosecutor in Mashhad, Gholamali Sadeqi, said: "One of the most important policies in the current year is confronting criminals and carrying out sentences precisely and decisively.”

Commenting on the amputation, Ms. Farideh Karimi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, said that such acts “point to the barbarity of the mullahs’ regime which has unfortunately become more worrisome due to the international community’s inaction.”

“It is now incumbent upon [the UN Special Rapporteur of the human rights situation in Iran] Mr. Ahmed Shaheed to urgently take necessary and effective action to halt the wave of executions and medieval tortures,” she added.

Source: NCRI, August 25, 2016

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