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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…

Two Prisoners Executed in Public in Southern Iran

Public hanging in Iran
Iranian authorities hanged two prisoners in public on Wednesday August 17.

Iran Human Rights (AUG 18 2016): Two prisoners were reportedly hanged in public at Saheli Boulevard, located in the city of Bandar Abbas (Hormozgan province, southern Iran), on rape charges.

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

The Iranian state-run news agency, ISNA, has identified the prisoners as: M.P., 28 years old, and A.A., 25 years old. 

The prisoners were reportedly sentenced to death for rape, kidnapping, and theft.

A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Mashhad Central Prison (Razavi Khorasan province, northeastern Iran) on murder charges, and another prisoner was reportedly hanged at Tabas Central Prison (South Khorasan province, eastern Iran) on drug related charges.

A report by the Iranian state-run news agency, Rokna, identifies the prisoner who was executed in the city of Mashhad as "N", hanged on the morning of Tuesday August 16.

Unofficial source, Human Rights Defenders Association of Kurdistan, reports on the execution in the city of Tabas. 

The prisoner, whose identity is not known at this time, was reportedly also executed on Tuesday morning. Iranian official sources have not announced this execution.

A prisoner was reportedly executed at Lakan, Rasht's central prison, on drug related charges.

According to the Iranian state run news outlet, ISNA, the execution was carried out on the morning of Saturday August 16th in the Gilan province (northern Iran).

The report identifies the prisoner as H.R., 45 years of age. The prisoner was reportedly charged with buying and selling two kilograms of crystal meth.

Source: Iran Human Rights, August 16-18, 2016

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