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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…

UN: Maldives should stick to death penalty moratorium

Hussein Humam Ahmed, 22, convicted of killing MP Dr Afrasheem Ali in 2012
Hussein Humam Ahmed, 22, convicted of killing MP Dr Afrasheem Ali in 2012
UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein says the country's movement toward resuming executions is "deeply regrettable."

The United Nations' human rights chief is urging the Maldives to stick to a decades-long moratorium on imposing the death penalty, citing fears that three men are at "imminent risk" of execution.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said in a statement issued in Geneva on Tuesday that the Maldives long provided "important leadership" in efforts to end the use of the death penalty and it is "deeply regrettable that a series of steps have been taken to resume executions in the country."

In June, the Supreme Court confirmed the death penalty for a 22-year-old man convicted of killing a politician in 2012.

Shortly before that, the government had amended rules to allow execution by lethal injection or hanging, indicating that the country's unofficial six-decade moratorium on executions would soon end.

Amnesty International said it is concerned about the country's "judicial overreach" and its effect on human rights issues as well as its intention to execute those on death row.

In a 2015 fact-finding mission to the Indian Ocean island, the UK-based rights group found political tension in the country had been exacerbated by what it called harassment, detention and the imprisonment of government opponents.

"Safeguards against human rights violations are progressively eroding and the government is failing in its duty to stop this," the group said at the time.

Source: Aljazeera, Agencies, August 9, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

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