Innocent on Death Row? New Evidence Casts Doubt on Convictions

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: Approval of the New Anti-Narcotic Bill By the Guardian Council; Promising but Insufficient

Public execution in Iran
Iran Human Rights (Oct 25 2017):  The bill that restricts the execution of those sentenced to death for petty drug offenses, which was approved last Wednesday, is a potentially a significant in decreasing the number of executions in Iran. 

However, it still doesn’t fully conform to what human rights activists demand.

The state-run media announced that the Guardian Council approved the bill for the amendment to the drug law on Wednesday October 18. 

The bill was approved by Iran’s Parliament on August 13 after being taken off Parliament’s agenda three times and being returned to the Judicial Commission twice. 

Under the amended bill, those charged with smuggling less than 50 kilograms of traditional drugs and less than 2 kilograms of industrial drugs will not be executed.

However, according to the original bill that was approved by the Judicial Commission, those who smuggle more than 100 kilograms of traditional drugs and those who possess and trade more than 5 kilograms of industrial drugs and manufacture and traffic more than 2 kilograms of it would face execution. 

Iran Drug Control Headquarters and the Prosecutor’s Office opposed the bill.

Nevertheless, the amended bill that has become law now applies to those death-row prisoners that had been charged before the legislation of the bill. 

Some of the authorities of the executive branch claim that the new law will save 4000 prisoners from execution.

Several authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran had previously declared that execution does not have an inhibiting effect. 

Even so, Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty has reported 224 drug related executions in Iran since the beginning of this year.

Emphasizing that the new bill ignores fair trial, Iran Human Rights (IHR) welcomes the approval of the new bill while demanding more effective and practical actions by the Iranian legislative institutions in order to abolish death penalty. 

The issue of unfair trials and lack of due process, which have not been addressed in the new bill, are the main obstacles for a sustainable reduction in the number of drug-related executions.

Source: Iran Human Rights, October 25, 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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