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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: Two Juvenile Prisoners Executed

Two child executions have reportedly been carried out in Iran since the start of 2017

Iran Human Rights (JAN 28 2017): Two juvenile offenders were executed in Kerman (southeastern Iran) and Tabriz (northwestern Iran) prisons. This is in addition to the more than 70 people who have been executed since the beginning of 2017. Iran Human Rights calls for international reactions to the wave of executions and in particular juvenile executions in Iran.

"We want abolition of the death penalty, and as a first step abolition of the death penalty for all offences committed while under age of 18. We are calling on the international community, especially the United Nations and the European Union, to place abolition of the death penalty, in particilar the death penalty for juveniles, at the top of their talks with the Iranian authorities," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson of Iran Human Rights.

The Iranian authorities lead the world in the most executions of minors, despite the revisions made to the Islamic Penal Code and that child executions violate Iran's international obligations.

Arman Bahr Asemani - Convicted of murder at age 16


Iran Human Rights has received confirmation on the execution of a a juvenile prisoner who was convicted of murder at the age of 16.

"Arman Bahr Asemani, born February 10, 1997, convicted in November 2012 of murdering his cousin, was hanged on Sunday January 15, 2017 at Kerman's Shahab Prison," a close source tells Iran Human Rights.

"Bahr Asemani, who was 20 years old at the time of his execution, had also been condemned to 74 lashings on the charge of consumption of alcohol. Hs lawyer had attempted to argue that if [Arman] was drunk, then he should not have been charged with first degree murder, but the lawyer never got anywhere," says the close source.

Iranian official sources had announced an execution at Shahab Prison of a 23-year-old prisoner charged with murder; however, there was no mention of Bahr Asemani's execution.

Hassan Hassanzadeh - Convicted of murder at age 15


The human rights news agency HRANA reports on the execution of a juvenile prisoner at Tabriz Prison on Wednesday January 18. The prisoner, identified as Hassan Hassanzadeh, was reportedly around 15 years old when he was convicted of murder. He was reportedly jailed for about two and a half years before he was executed at the age of 18.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 29, 2017

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