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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: Two Hanged at Rajai Shahr Prison and Two Hanged in Public

Public hanging in Kazeroon Iran, on August 11, 2016
Public hanging in Kazeroon Iran, on August 11, 2016
Two prisoners were hanged at Rajai Shahr Prison on Wednesday August 10, while another two prisoners were hanged in public in two different Iranian cities on Tuesday August 11.

Iran Human Rights (AUG 11 2016): On Thursday August 11, two prisoners were hanged in public, one in the city of Ravansar (Kermanshah province, western Iran) and one in the city of Kazeroon (Fars province, south central Iran). 

On Wednesday August 10, at least two prisoners were reportedly executed at Karaj's Rajai Shahr Prison (west of Tehran) on murder charges.

On Monday August 8, Iran Human Rights had reported on the transfer of at least four prisoners at Rajai Shahr Prison to solitary confinement in preparation for their executions. 

The execution sentences of two of these prisoners were reportedly carried out on Wednesday. Sources say the names of the two prisoners are: Fariborz Jalali and Gholamreza Arabderazi. 

The execution sentences of the two other two prisoners, identified as Shokr Ali Ahi and Majid Shirafkan, were stopped by the complainants on their case files.

The state-run news site Jame Jam reports on the public execution of the prisoner in Kermanshah. 

The prisoner, who is not udentified in the report, was reportedly hanged for the murder of Salim Ghanbari, former prosecutor of Ravansar. "The people of Ravansar had organized an online campaign calling for a boycott of this public execution to urge citizens not to attend. This is why not many people attended," a confirmed source tells Iran Human Rights.

The state-run news agency Mehr reports on the public execution of the prisoner in Fars. 

According to the report, the prisoner, identified as Abbas Tahmasebi, had previous murder convictions in his case file, but he was arrested and sentenced to death for "purchasing and selling of 100 grams of heroin, purchasing and selling 39 grams of crystal meth, and trafficking and possessing 40 grams of heroin". 

Iran Human Rights has uploaded a video of Mr. Tahmasebi's execution.


Public hanging in Ravansar, Iran, on August 11, 2016
Public hanging in Ravansar, Ira, on August 11, 2016

Public hanging in Ravansar, Iran, on August 11, 2016

Public hanging in Ravansar, Iran, on August 11, 2016

Public hanging in Ravansar, Iran, on August 11, 2016


Public hanging in Kazeroon, Iran, on August 11, 2016
Public hanging in Kazeroon, Iran, on August 11, 2016

Public hanging in Kazeroon, Iran, on August 11, 2016


Public hanging in Kazeroon, Iran, on August 11, 2016


Public hanging in Kazeroon, Iran, on August 11, 2016


Public hanging in Kazeroon, Iran, on August 11, 2016


Public hanging in Kazeroon, Iran, on August 11, 2016


Public hanging in Kazeroon, Iran, on August 11, 2016


Source: Iran Human Rights, August 11, 2016

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