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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…

Iraq executes 7 Arab men on terrorism convictions

At least 7 men of different Arab nationalities were hanged Wednesday in Iraq on charges of links to al-Qaeda and convictions for terrorist crimes, officials said.

"The death penalty has been carried out against 7 terrorists holding various Arab nationalities after the completion of their legal procedures," read a statement by the Iraqi ministry of justice.

The 7 were captured at least 4 years ago and found guilty of terrorist activities with al-Qaeda in Iraq.

"The blood of the martyrs will not go unpunished," Haidar al-Zamili, Iraq's justice minister, said in the statement.

The executed were from Libya, Tunisia, Sudan, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. 

They were all hanged at the Nasiriyah prison in southern Iraq, said a local official from Dhiqar province, also in southern Iraq.

In June, the Iraqi Justice Ministry announced that in the 1st half of this year, it carried out 45 executions.

Another 36 were hanged for their involvement in a massacre at the Speicher military base, where ISIS killed 1,700 Shiite cadets. The cadets were killed after ISIS took over large swathes of Iraq and seized Mosul, starting in June 2014.

Source: rudaw.net, September 1, 2016

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