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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…

Bangladesh: Mufti Hannan’s death penalty upheld

Mufti Abdul Hannan
Mufti Abdul Hannan
The appellate division of the Supreme Court on Sunday upheld the death penalty of three men of banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HuJi), including its chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, in a case filed for the grenade attack on the then UK envoy in Bangladesh Anwar Choudhury in 2004.

A three-member bench of the Appellate Division led by chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order after dismissing the review appeal of the HuJi chief.

On 7 December last, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of the three HuJi men.

On 11 February last year, a High Court bench, comprising justice M Enayetur Rahim and justice Amir Hossain, delivered the verdict upholding the death sentence of three of the accused - Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam and Delwar Hossain - and life-term imprisonment of two others - Mufti Hannan’s brother Mohibullah and Mufti Moinuddin - handed down by the lower court.

Anwar Choudhury and 51 others were injured while three, including two police officials, were killed in a grenade attack at Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) shrine in Sylhet on 21 May 2004.

Later, two cases - one for murder and another under the Explosive Act - were filed in connection with the grenade attack.

After investigation into the case, charges were framed against four people, including Mufti Hannan, on 31 July 2007.

The Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal of Sylhet on 23 December 2008, awarded death sentence to Huji leaders Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar Hossain Ripon while Mufti Muhibur Rahman (Hannan’s brother) and Mufti Mainuddin were awarded life term, and fined Tk 10,000 each in the murder case.

Source: Prothom Alo, March 19, 2017

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