Texas: Gov. Abbott should grant death row inmate Rodney Reed a reprieve, before it’s too late

Convicted murderer Rodney Reed is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Nov. 20, but Gov. Greg Abbott has the power to stop it.
As it stands, there’s no indication that Abbott will. He has only stopped one execution since becoming governor 5 years ago.
Reed was sentenced to death in 1998, after being convicted of the brutal 1996 rape and killing of a 19-year-old woman from central Texas, Stacey Stites. And though the governor has yet to weigh in on this specific case, he supports capital punishment, as do most voters in the state. According to a June 2018 poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune, fully three-fourths of Texans strongly or somewhat support the death penalty.
But the question at hand has nothing to do with the death penalty, per se. Granting a reprieve would simply be the right thing to do — and a necessary precaution against the doubts that would linger, if Reed is executed as scheduled.
Reed has consistently maintained his innocence, and legitimate questions …

Iran: Five executed, one to be hanged in public, death sentence upheld for researcher

Public execution in Iran
5 prisoners were executed at Kermanshah Central Prison on murder charges.

According to a close source, on the morning of Monday December 11, 5 prisoners were executed at Kermanshah Central Prison (Western Iran). 

All of the prisoners were sentenced to death on murder charges.

1 of the executed prisoners was identified as Keykavus Ashouri. He was arrested and sentenced to death 15 years ago.

The execution of these prisoners has not been announced by the state-run media so far.

According to Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty, 142 of the 530 execution sentences in 2016 were implemented due to murder charges. 

There is a lack of a classification of murder by degree in Iran which results in issuing death sentence for any kind of murder regardless of intensity and intent.

Prisoner Scheduled To Be Executed in Public

People watching a public hanging in Iran.
A prisoner who was sentenced to public execution on the charge of murdering a police officer was transferred to solitary confinement.

According to a close source, a prisoner was transferred to solitary confinement in Isfahan Central Prison. 

The prisoner is charged with murdering a police officer, named Asghar Qezavi, while trafficking drugs in Naein (Fars Province) in April 2016. 

He was arrested and sentenced to public execution along with 4 other people.

The execution is apparently going to be carried out publically in Naein.

According to Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty 33 people have been executed in public in front of large crowds including children in 2016. 

Public executions have been strongly criticized by Iranian human rights activists and sociologists.

Iranian court upholds death penalty for researcher

Ahmadreza Djalali
Human rights groups are reporting that Iran's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for a disaster medicine researcher, Ahmadreza Djalali. 

Amnesty International reported Tuesday that Djalali's lawyers have learned that the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence "in a summary manner without granting them an opportunity to file their defense submissions."

Djalali, an Iranian-born resident of Sweden, was arrested in April 2016 during an academic trip to Iran and convicted in October of spying in what Amnesty describes as a "grossly unfair" trial. 

In an August letter from Tehran's Evin Prison, Djalali wrote that he was arrested for his refusal to use his academic and other ties in Europe to spy for Iran. 

Djalali holds a Ph.D. in disaster medicine from the Karolinska Institute, in Sweden, and taught at the Universita` degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, in Italy, and at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in Belgium.

Sources: Iran Human Rights, insidehighered.com,  December 13, 2017

Upholding academic's death sentence in secret shows utter contempt for right to life

The Iranian Supreme Court has run roughshod over the rule of law by upholding the death sentence of Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-born Swedish resident and specialist in emergency medicine, through a secret and hasty process and without allowing any defence submission, Amnesty International revealed today.

Ahmadreza Djalali's lawyers learned on Saturday 9 December that Branch 1 of the Supreme Court had considered and upheld his death sentence in a summary manner without granting them an opportunity to file their defence submissions.

"This is not only a shocking assault on the right to a fair trial but is also in utter disregard for Ahmadreza Djalali's right to life. It is appalling that the Iranian authorities have deliberately denied Ahmadreza Djalali the right to a meaningful review of his conviction and sentence," said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"The Iranian authorities must immediately quash Ahmadreza Djalali's death sentence, and grant him the right to present a meaningful appeal against his conviction before the highest court. Failing to do so will be an irreversible injustice."

Iran, execution
Since early November, Ahmadreza Djalali's lawyers had repeatedly contacted the Supreme Court to find out which branch his appeal petition had been allocated so they could present their submissions.

The established practice in Iran is for lawyers to be informed of the branch where the appeal will be considered before submitting the relevant documentation and arguments. Ahmadreza Djalali's lawyers said they were consistently told by court clerks that the case had not yet been allocated for consideration and that they should wait. As a result, the sudden news of the Supreme Court's decision came as a shock.

Ahmadreza Djalali, was on a business trip to Iran when he was arrested in April 2016. He was held in Evin prison by Ministry of Intelligence officials for seven months, 3 of them in solitary confinement. He has said that during this period he did not have access to a lawyer and was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment to "confess" to being a spy.

No investigation into his allegations of torture and other ill-treatment is known to have taken place.

In October 2017, he was convicted of "spreading corruption on earth" for spying and sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial. His lawyers have said that the trial court relied primarily on evidence obtained under duress and produced no evidence to substantiate the allegation that he was anything other than an academic peacefully pursuing his profession.

In a letter written from inside Tehran's Evin prison in August 2017, Ahmadreza Djalali said he was held solely in reprisal for his refusal to use his scholastic and work ties in European academic and other institutions to spy for Iran.

International human rights bodies have consistently held that it is a violation of the right to life to pass a death sentence after criminal proceedings that violate fair trial guarantees. Moreover, under international law, the only category of crimes for which the death penalty may be allowed is "the most serious crimes", which, as interpreted by international bodies, means only crimes involving intentional killing.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Source: Amnesty International, December 12, 2017

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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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