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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…

Gay Iranian Teenager Denied Lawyer and Executed for Allegedly Raping Other Teen

Gay Iran
A secondary school pupil has been executed in Iran after being convicted of raping another boy.

During a two-month trial in early 2015, in which he had no legal representation, Hassan Afshar, 19, was found guilty of “lavat-e be onf” – forced male to male anal intercourse.

“Homosexual conduct” remains illegal under Iran’s Sharia law and is punishable by fines, public flogging or execution.

Magdalena Mughrabi, an interim deputy director at Amnesty International, said Iran had proved that “its sickening enthusiasm” for putting juveniles to death, in contravention of international law, knew no bounds.

“Hassan was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested. He had no access to a lawyer and the judiciary rushed through the investigation and prosecution, convicting and sentencing him to death within two months of his arrest as though they could not execute him quickly enough,” she said.

“In a cruel stroke of irony, officials did not inform Hassan Afshar of his death sentence for around seven months while he was held in a juvenile detention facility because they did not want to cause him distress – and yet astonishingly were still prepared to execute him.

“With this execution, Iranian authorities have demonstrated once again their callous disregard for human rights.”

Just days after Afshar was executed, the authorities scheduled Alireza Tajiki, another youth who was under 18 at the time of his alleged offence, for execution.

The implementation of his death sentence, which had been scheduled to take place last week, was postponed following public pressure.

Amnesty International claims Iran executed at least 75 juvenile offenders between 2005 and 2015 – including 13 last year.

Source: qnews.com.au, Rod Gardiner, August 9, 2017

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