Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Young boy used to carry out public execution in Iran early this morning

Source: Iran Human Rights
Iran Human Rights, May 26: A man was hanged in public in the city of Qazvin, west of Tehran, early this morning.

According to the official Iranian news agencies the man who was identified as "Mehdi Faraji" (37) was hanged in public, in the beginning of Qazvin’s "Isfahan street" early this morning.

Mehdi Faraji was convicted of murdering five women between May 2009 and March 2010.

This is the eighth public hanging that has taken in May 2011 in Iran.

According to our reports a young boy (minor) was used to draw the chair Mehdi was standing on and carry out the execution. The picture on the left shows the boy (arrow) while carrying out the execution.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of Iran Human Rights strongly condemned today’s execution and said : "These barbaric executions and using ordinary citizens, especially the minors to conduct these executions must be condemned by the world community". He added : "Iranian leaders must be held accountable for promoting a culture of murder and brutality in Iran".

Source: Iran Human Rights, May 26, 2011 - h] [فارسى]

May 29, 2011 Update
Iranian authorities react to IHR’s report: The man who carried out the public execution was 23 years old

Source: Iran Human Rights
Iran Human Rights, May 28: Iran Human Rights (IHR) had published a report (above) on May 26th regarding the public execution of "Mehdi Faraji" in Qazvin titled: "Young boy was used to carry out execution of a man in public in Iran". The information was based on eyewitness reports who said, "A young boy was used to draw the chair Mehdi was standing on and carry out the execution."

In the statement, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the international spokesperson of IHR said, “These barbaric executions and using ordinary citizens, especially minors, to carry out the executions must be condemned by the world community.” He added, “Iranian leaders must be held accountable for promoting a culture of murder and brutality in Iran”.

In reaction to IHR’s report, Ebrat News, a site close to the Iranian authorities revealed more details about the execution in Qazvin. According to the site, the young man who carried out the execution was identified as Ali, 23, the son of Kimia, one of the women allegedly murdered by Mehdi. Ebrat News wrote: “The man was not a minor as claimed by some sites…so-called human rights defenders have forgotten that, according to the qesas (retribution/eye-for-an-eye) law in a murder case [in Iran], the execution must be carried out by the family or the oldest child of the offended”.

Source: Iran Human Rights
“The age of the young man used to carry out the execution does not change the fundamental issues surrounding the case. In addition to the main issue of execution, it is very serious that Iranian authorities use ordinary citizens to carry out inhumane punishments. By doing so, Iranian authorities place tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of its citizens. In this case, a young man who is grieving the loss of his mother has to also now have the responsibility of death on his shoulders. This is shameful and disgusting,” said the spokesperson of IHR Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

“The young man’s mother was a victim of the growing violence and brutality in the Iranian society. Iranian authorities promote brutality by practicing brutal punishments in public,” he added. Qesas ‘retribution’, or an eye-for-an-eye, is considered fair punishment by Iranian authorities

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said about the retribution ‘eye-for-an-eye’ law, “Retribution is one of the few ‘rights’ given by Iranian authorities to its citizens. The Iranian government deprives its citizens of basic human rights like, freedom of speech, thought and choice, and even personal rights like how to dress, but the ‘rights’ of citizens to carry out executions or blind with acid are insisted on and encouraged.”

Source: Iran Human Rights, May 29, 2011 - [فارسى]
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