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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…

Seventeen Hanged in Various Iranian Prisons, One in Public

Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran Human Rights has confirmed the execution of seventeen people in various Iranian prisons.

Iran Human Rights (SEPT 21 2017): A total of eight prisoners were reported hanged in various Iranian prisoners. Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have not announced these eight executions.

According to close sources, on Tuesday September 19, a prisoner was reportedly hanged at Khorramabad Central Prison on murder charges. The prisoner has been identified as Mohammad Haji Sabzali. Mohammad was reportedly arrested and sentenced to death six years ago. On the morning of Wednesday September 20, another prisoner was hanged at this prison on murder charges. The name of the prisoner is not known at this time.

According to the human rights news agency, HRANA, on the morning of Monday September 18, a prisoner was hanged at Broujerd Central Prison on murder charges. The prisoner has been identified as Hossein Dalvand.

According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network and sources close to Iran Human Rights, on the morning of Monday September 19, three prisoners were hanged at Tabriz Central Prison. These three prisoners were reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on Sunday in preparation for their executions. The prisoners have been identified as Sina Assadzah and Ahad Pourtaghi, sentenced to death on murder charges, and Yousef Ebrahmi. "Yousef Ebrahimi was in prison for twenty years on murder and sodomy charges. He was able to gain forigiveness from the complainants on his case file regarding the murder charge, but he was executed on sodomy charges.

According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, on the morning of Wednesday September 20, two prisoners were hanged at Qazvin Central Prison on drug related charges. The two prisoners have been identified as Teyb Hajizadeh and Mojtaba Rahmati. Teyb and Mojtaba were transferred to solitary confinement on Tuesday night in preparation for their executions.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have not announced any of these executions. The recent wave of executions in Iran may be related to the upcoming Muslim holy month of Muharram. During Muharram, the rate of executions in Iran significantly decreases.

Close sources have also reported on a prisoner by the name of Massoud Joodaki, who was taken to solitary confinement on Saturday September 16 in preparation for his execution. Massou Joodaki, who is on death row on drug related charges, was reportedly returned to his cell after his execution was stayed.


Five Executions in Kerman Province Including One in Public


Iran Human Rights (SEPT 22 2017): Yadollah Movahed, the head of the Judiciary in Kerman, has reported on five executions in Iran, including one in public.

According to the state-run news agency, Mehr, Yadollah Movahed announced the execution of five prisoners in the province of Kerman who are "agents of insecurity and evil".

"In the past several days, the execution sentences for five prisoners, who are agents of insecurity and evil, were carried out in the eastern and southern parts of the Kerman province for various charges, including Moharebeh, armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder. They were executed after they were convicted and the course of legal proceedings," says Yadollah Movahed.

Mr. Movahed did not indicate the exact dates of the executions, the exact charges of the prisoners, or the names of the prisoners. No other Iranian state-run news agencies have reported on these five executions.

The lack of transparency regarding executions in Iran and the closed space for human rights activists have raised concerns that the real number of executions in Iran are much higher than those recorded by human rights activists.


Four Prisoners Executed at Rajai Shahr Prison


Iran Human Rights (SEPT 22 2017): Four prisoners were reportedly hanged at Rajai Shahr Prison on murder charges. According to close sources, the prisoners were executed on Wednesday September 20.

Iran Human Rights has been able to identify one of the prisoners so far: Saman Mohammadian, imprisoned for approximately seven years before he was executed.

These four prisoners were among a group of 13 who were transferred to solitary confinement on Saturday September 16 in preparation for their executions. The other prisoners were returned to their cells after receiving an extension or forgiveness from the complainants on their case files. One of the prisoners who was returned to his cell is Mojtaba Ghiasvand. "Mojtaba Ghiasvand was sentenced to death on murder charges, but he had repeatedly insisted on his innocence, " an informed source tells Iran Human Rights.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and state-run media, have not announced these four executions.

Source: Iran Human Rights, Sept. 22, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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