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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…

Iran executes nine inmates, one in public

Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran Human Rights (MAR 15 2017): Four prisoners were reportedly hanged at Darya, Urmia's central prison (West Azerbaijan province, northwestern Iran), on drug related charges.

According to the human rights news agency, HRANA, the executions were carried out on Tuesday March 14. The prisoners have been identified as Chengiz Badozadeh, Akram Hassanpour, Vahed Hamedi, and Kiumars Freydan (also known as Delawar).

According to the report by HRANA, Mr. Freydan was sentenced to death twice in two separate case files. In one of the files, he was charged with trafficking under 100 grams of narcotics, in the other, he was charged with trafficking under 500 grams of narcotics. 

One of his death sentences was reportedly commuted to life in prison. Mr. Freydan's wife is reportedly currently held in the women's ward of Urmia's central prison on drug related charges. 

Mr. Freydan's father, Effendi, was reportedly hanged by Iranian authorities in September 2016. 

Mr. Freydan's brother is reportedly held in Ward 14 of Urmia's central prison. Mr. Freydan's mother was reportedly released from the same prison recently.

The recent wave of executions in Iran comes at the same time time that the Iranian Parliament is reportedly reviewing a proposed bill to limit the use of the death penalty for drug related offenses.

Iran Human Rights (MAR 15 2017): Three prisoners at Zahedan Central Prison and a prisoner at Chabahar Prison were hanged on drug related charges. Both prisons are located in Iran's Sistan & Baluchestan province (southern Iran).

THREE PRISONERS HANGED

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, three prisoners were hanged at Zahedan Central Prison on Sunday March 12 on drug related charges. The prisoners have been identified as Yar Mohammad Reigi, Ismael Reigi, and Rahim Reigi. Dozens of the family members of these prisoners reportedly gathered outside the prison the night before their executions calling on the Iranian authorities to stop their execution sentences.

ONE PRISONER HANGED

On Saturday March 11, a prisoner, identified as Manouchehr Abkhiz, was reportedly executed at Chahabar Prison on drug related charges.

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

The increase in the execution of Sunni prisoners is believed to be as a result of an alleged confidential order given by Iran's Judiciary Chief to "accelerate the execution of Sunni prisoners". Molana Abdul Hamid, a Sunni Friday Prayer Imam in Zahedan, has reportedly written a letter to Iran's leader, Ali Khamenei, expressing worry about the Judiciary Chief's alleged execution order and called for a follow up into the matter.

PRISONER HANGED IN PUBLIC

Iran Human Rights (MAR 11 2017): An unidentified prisoner was reportedly executed in public on murder charges.

According to a report by the state-run news agency, Jaame Jam Online, the public execution was carried out on Thursday March 9 in the city of Yazd in front of the parking lot of Mullah Ismail mosque. The report claims that the unidentified prisoner and his brother robbed a jewellery store in August 2015 and killed the jewellery store owner's son in the process.

Source: Iran Human Rights, March 11-15, 2017

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