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…

Life on death row: ‘They had no idea they were going to be executed’

Yahya Jammeh
Social activist and former Minister of Information, Amadou Janneh, was found guilty of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2012 for printing and distributing T-shirts made by the NGO ‘Coalition for Change – The Gambia (CGG),’ calling for an end to “dictatorship” in the country. While in prison, he met many people on death row, including the nine who were executed in August 2012 – the first executions in more than three decades in The Gambia.

He shared his story with Amnesty International, from his new home in the USA:

In mid-August 2012, the President of the Gambia announced that he was going to execute all prisoners on death row. We all got very alarmed. I decided to go around and collect the names of all those on death row. They were 48 individuals, including one woman, two Senegalese nationals, two from Mali and one person from Guinea-Bissau. I put that information together and sent it out quickly and CGG published all the list of names and nationalities.

A flurry of activity started and we were hopeful, but at 9:00pm on August 23, a Thursday, a large number of security personnel entered the prison yard and took eight men and one woman and just executed them.

Nobody figured out how they selected them out of the 48. There was no prior notification. They had no idea they were going to be executed. While they were being taken away, one of them screamed my name saying: “Amadou, I’m going to be executed tonight”.

Then the silence came.

Source: Amnesty International, April 18, 2013

Related articles:
Aug 30, 2012
Gambia's leader, President Yahya Jammeh, has long faced criticism for his human rights record. In a recent speech marking the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, the president vowed to put to death all prisoners facing ...
Aug 20, 2012
Mr Jammeh whose government have been indicted over the years for lack of respect to the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law said the Gambia has a functioning democracy and his government will ...
Aug 27, 2012
Gambia has executed nine convicted criminals, the Civil Society Associations reported Saturday as Amnesty International warned that dozens more on death-row are under imminent threat as the West African nation carries ...
Aug 25, 2012
"The decision of the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to execute nine prisoners after more than a quarter of a century without execution would be a giant leap backwards," said Paule Rigaud, Amnesty International's deputy...

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