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'Express lane to death': Texas seeks approval to speed up death penalty appeals, execute more quickly

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Texas is seeking to speed up executions with a renewed request to opt-in to a federal law that would shorten the legal process and limit appeals options for death-sentenced prisoners.
Defense attorneys worry it would lead to the execution of innocent people and - if it's applied retroactively, as Texas is requesting - it could potentially end ongoing appeals for a number of death row prisoners and make them eligible for execution dates.
"Opt-in would speed up the death penalty treadmill exponentially," said Kathryn Kase, an longtime defense attorney and former executive director of Texas Defender Services.
But a state attorney general spokeswoman framed the request to the Justice Department as a necessary way to avoid "stressful delays" and cut down on the "excessive costs" of lengthy federal court proceedings.
Robbie Kaplan, co-founder of the #TimesUp movement, says sweeping changes to laws in recent years have dissuaded attorneys from taking on har…

Amnesty: Malaysian brothers to be executed on Wednesday, March 15

Suthar and Rames Batumalai
Suthar and Rames Batumalai
PETALING JAYA: The two brothers who received a last-minute reprieve from a scheduled execution in February will now face the gallows on Wednesday [March 15], said Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM).

If the executions take place, it will be the first time that it will take place on a Wednesday morning, said AIM executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu.

"Malaysia carries out executions on Friday mornings and this double execution will be the first ever execution that we are aware of to take place on a Wednesday morning at 5.30am Malaysia time (9.30pm tonight London time). This is symbolic of the rushed nature of this particular execution," she said in a statement Tuesday.

The family members of Rames and Suthar Batumalai were handed a letter on Monday notifying them of the imminent execution and asking them to visit the two at Kajang Prison for the last time on Tuesday.

The brothers were sentenced in April 2010 for murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code after they were found guilty of killing Krishnan Raman on Feb 4, 2006.

The brothers have always maintained their innocence.

They were scheduled to be executed on Feb 24, but they received a last-minute reprieve after their lawyers sent in a clemency application a day before.

The clemency application submitted by their lawyers, Haresh Mahadevan and Co, included a statutory declaration from Krishnan's widow appealing to the Pardons Board for the brothers not be executed and instead be allowed to serve life imprisonment.

"If the victim's family has moved to intercept the execution, the Pardons Board should consider this and allow for every avenue to be exhausted before the state even considers taking a life," said Shamini.

Source: The Star Online, March 14, 2017


Brothers on death row set for ‘hasty executions’ on Wednesday, NGO to hold vigil


KUALA LUMPUR — Two brothers who are on death row for murder in Malaysia are set to face a “hasty execution” on Wednesday morning (March 15, at 5.30am Malaysia time, 9.30pm tonight London time), merely two days after prison authorities notified their kin about the execution, Amnesty International Malaysia.

Amnesty also said that it will be organising a candlelight vigil at the main entrance of the Kajang prison at 8pm on Tuesday night in solidarity with Rames and Suthar Batumalai.

“Amnesty International Malaysia condemns the decision to execute the brothers, which seems to be made in a hurried and secretive manner,” it said in a statement.

“Malaysia carries out executions on Friday mornings and this double execution would be the first ever execution that we are aware of to take place on a Wednesday morning. This is symbolic of the rushed nature of this particular execution,” Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kalimuthu said on Tuesday.

The NGO also believes that the brothers were convicted based on circumstantial evidence alone, and pointed out that the Pardons Board did not consider their pardon appeal even though their appeal included a statutory declaration from deceased’s wife.

“This application includes a statutory declaration from the wife of the deceased, appealing to the Pardons Board for the brothers not be executed and instead be allowed to serve a life sentence,” Amnesty said.

“If the victim’s family has moved to intercept the execution, the Pardons Board should consider this and allow for every avenue to be exhausted before the State even considers taking a life,” Ms Shamini said.

Their family has been asked to pay their last visit to the duo on Tuesday ahead of the execution.

Source: MALAY MAIL ONLINE, March 14, 2017

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