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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 Palestinian youth

Iraq executes Palestinian youth
Iraqi authorities executed a Palestinian youth yesterday after accusing him of collaborating with armed groups in Iraq, the Palestinian Safa news agency reported today.

Ahmad Husni Shwahneh was arrested by Iraqi authorities almost a year ago and charged with working with militant factions. 

However, reports were unclear as to whether or not these groups were related to Daesh, nor what evidence Iraq had against the youth.

Shwahneh, who also holds Jordanian nationality and lived in the Hashemite Kingdom with his family, was executed by hanging. 

An Iraqi court authorised his execution which was carried out before his family were informed.

His family have stated that they will be conducting his funeral in Jordan, with his extended family from the West Bank town of Qalqilya holding a remembrance service.

Iraq is known for its controversial anti-terror laws that have been criticised as allowing politically motivated executions. 

Amnesty International recently reported that Iraqi prisoners were routinely subjected to torture in order to extract "confessions" leading to unfair trials.

Source: middleeastmonitor.com, September 17, 2016

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