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Innocent on Death Row? New Evidence Casts Doubt on Convictions

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Rodney Reed’s death sentence was suspended. But researchers say other current cases raise similar doubt about the guilt of the accused.
The number of executions in the United States remains close to nearly a three-decade low. And yet the decline has not prevented what those who closely track the death penalty see as a disturbing trend: a significant number of cases in which prisoners are being put to death, or whose execution dates are near, despite questions about their guilt.
Rodney Reed, who came within days of execution in Texas before an appeals court suspended his death sentence on Friday, has been the most high-profile recent example, receiving support from Texas lawmakers of both parties and celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West, who urged a new examination of the evidence.
Mr. Reed has long maintained that he did not commit the 1996 murder for which he was convicted. And in recent months, new witnesses came forward pointing toward another possible suspect: the dead…

Iran: Nine Prisoners Hanged on Drug Charges

Iran Human Rights (FEB 20 2017): Nine prisoners have reportedly been hanged in Iran on drug related charges.

Two Prisoners Executed in Dizel Abad (Kermanshah province, western Iran)

According to close sources, two prisoners were hanged on drug related charges on Saturday February 18 at Dizsel Abad Prison. 

The prisoners have been identified as Mohammad Karim Azizpanah, 43 years of age, sentenced to death on the charge of trafficking three kilograms and 350 grams of crystal meth, and Hamid Reza Reybaz, 35 years of age, sentenced to death on the charge of trafficking two kilograms of crystal meth and 200 grams of crack.

"Mohammad Karim is father to two sons. The drugs were in no way his. He was a driver who was driving a passenger to Kermashah when he was arrested and never returned," a family member of Mr. Azizpanah tells Iran Human Rights.

Prisoner Executed in Shiraz (Fars province, southern Iran)

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, a prisoner was hanged at Shiraz Prison on the morning of Tuesday February 20. 

The prisoner has been identified as Ismael Hassanzehi, sentenced to death on drug related charges. 

The report says that prison authorities had told Mr. Hassanzehi's family to travel from Sistan & Baluchestan to Shiraz Prison in order to have their last visit with him, but when they arrived, they were given Mr. Hassanzehi's dead body instead.

Six Prisoners Executed in Birjand (South Khorasan province, eastern Iran)

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, six unidentified prisoners were hanged at Birjand Prison on drug related charges. 

The exact dates of the executions are not known, but it is reported that they were carried out in the last few days.

Iranian Authorities Silent on Executions

Iranian official sources, including the media and the Judiciary, have not announced these nine executions.

Source: Iran Human Rights, February 20, 2017

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