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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: At Least 8 Prisoners Executed on Drug Related Charges

The bodies of some of the men executed in Bandar Abbas Central Prison on Sept. 10 2016
The bodies of some of the men executed in
Bandar Abbas Central Prison on Sept. 10 2016
Eight new executions reported in Iran by official and unofficial sources. All eight prisoners were reportedly executed on drug related charges.

Iran Human Rights (SEPT 11 2016): Seven prisoners were executed at Bandar Abbas Central Prison (Hormozgan province, southern Iran) on drug related charges, reports Iranian state-run media Tabnkak

The hangings were reportedly carried out on Saturday September 10.

According to the unofficial news agency, HRANA, the prisoners were sailors who were sentenced to death on drug related charges. 

HRANA identifies the prisoners as: Ghasem Daryanavard, Amin Bibaki, Khosro Badpa, Sattar Hoot, Mohammad Hanif Boop, Haroun Heykalnejad and Tareq Naraaj.

Last week, at least one prisoner was reportedly executed at Mashhad's Vakilabad Prison on drug related charges. 

The prisoner has been identified by unofficial sources as Einollah Mohammadzadeh, sentenced to death on drug related charges. 

A source close to Mr. Mohammadzadeh told HRANA that "justice was not implemented" in his court hearing. The exact date of Mr. Mohammadzadeh's execution is not known at this time. Additionally, Iranian official sources have been silent regarding his execution.

Iran Human Rights (SEPT 5 2016): The death sentence for an unidentified 22-year-old prisoner, who was charged with the murder of a physician, was reportedly carried out at Ardabil Central Prison on the morning of Saturday September 3.

Iranian state-run news agency Mizan confirmed the execution, quoting Nasser Atabati, Ardabil's public prosecutor. 

The head of the Judiciary in Ardabil reportedly ordered for the case file of this prisoner to be handled and investigated urgently.

Despite the sensitivity of public opinion surrounding the murder and the many rumors that have circulated about the motive, there has not been enough transparency by Iranian official sources regarding the details of the case.

Source: Iran Human Rights, September 5-11, 2016

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