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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…

Belarus president refuses to overrule nation's decision on capital punishment

Alexander Lukashenko
People voted in the death penalty referendum, and I have no right to overrule this decision, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said while talking to the media, BelTA has learned.

The head of state noted that Europeans often ask the Belarusian authorities to suspend, prohibit the death penalty. "I can not overrule the decision taken by the people," Alexander Lukashenko underlined.

"Should we want to do so, then we must hold a referendum," the president said. "If we take this issue to a referendum, I don't need to tell you what the result will be. You know it yourselves," the Belarusian leader said. When meeting with the German foreign minister I said to him that if Germany takes this issue to a referendum at a time when Europe and many countries are exposed to terrorist attacks you know, what the outcome will be. People see that death penalty may be a strong disincentive for some 'hot heads'. So I tell him that maybe Europeans will soon turn to our experience," he said.

"With regard to death penalty, I asked him a question: you are big friends with some countries in the Middle East and other regions, the United States. Why do not you ask them the things that you want from Belarus? He would not answer. Therefore, I think we will come to an agreement in this regard," the president said.

The head of state also noted that there are a lot of issues related to security in the world and in the region. Belarus is playing a big role and can play an even bigger one. "Today Belarus is a quiet, orderly, dignified country, a kind of donor of security on the European continent and its status is raising in Europe," the head of state believes. "We see, we hear, we appreciate it and we will always go halfway to accommodate the interests of the European states if we are not made to choose (as it was before, not anymore) between Russia or Europe," he said.

The president said that "Russians are our brothers". "Are they good or bad? You do not choose brothers. They may not like us in some things either. But we are kindred people. Therefore, there is no asking us the question who you are with. We will be friends with Europe, we will be working with Europe, but Russia is dear and very important to us," the head of state noted.

Source: belta.by, November 25, 2017


PACE discusses abolition of the death penalty in Belarus


Andrea Rigoni, a special rapporteur on Belarus of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, is on an official visit to Minsk to discuss the perspective regarding abolition of the death penalty. Negotiations with the Belarusian MPs are taking place against the backdrop of the Eastern Partnership Summit, which kicked off Friday in Brussels, and where Belarus is represented by its Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei.

Rigoni, who was invited to the capital of Belarus by the government, is expected to participate in parliamentary discussions on the problems of applying capital punishment in the national legislation. Yesterday, after the meeting with the Vice-President of the Belarusian National Council (Parliament), the rapporteur said that the PACE "wants not only a closer approach from Belarus towards the values of the Council of Europe but also wants the republic to join the organisation".

"Currently relations between Belarus and the Council of Europe are very positive. This is also confirmed by the fact that we are presently organising joint events. Belarus is present in the Council of Europe and our representatives come to your country, too," Rigoni said. He also stressed that the Council of Europe is not concerned with the economic issues, but is interested in promotion of democracy and human rights.

In 1993, Belarus was given special guest status and applied for membership of the Council of Europe. Though, after the referendum in 1997, which lifted the moratorium on the death penalty, that status was revoked. At present, Belarus remains the only country in greater Europe that is not a member of the organisation.

Source: neweurope.eu, November 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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