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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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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…

Trinidad & Tobago: AG proposes categories for murder

Government is considering introducing categories of murder as it seeks to strengthen laws which deal with such crimes, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said on Thursday last as he met with a delegation from Amnesty International (AI).

Also discussed at last Thursday's meeting were mutual concerns of protection and preservation of human rights, police brutality and the need for improved efficiency in the criminal justice system.

According to a statement from the Office of the Attorney General, the issue of the death penalty was discussed and while Ramlogan pointed out that the death penalty was part of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago he advised that significant attempts were being made by the Government to improve the current law by introducing categories of murder. He said the death penalty would be reserved for the most heinous of murders without any extenuating circumstances. According to Ramlogan, legislation on the categorisation of murder had been rejected when taken to Parliament due to a lack of support from the Opposition.

According to the statement, the AG agreed that there was a greater need for public awareness or a public education campaign on the very emotional and sensitive issue of the death penalty, which he said the majority of the population appeared to support.

He urged the delegation to consider the rights of the victims as part of their deliberations and discussions to ensure that it is properly factored into the agenda for the abolition of the death penalty.

The Attorney General told the visiting AI delegation while many positive studies have been made for the protection and preservation of human rights, he said there was room for improvement. The AI team was led by Chiara Sangiorgio and the meeting was held at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair.

Also present at the meeting were newly appointed chairperson of the Greater Caribbean for Life, Leela Ramdeen and attorney Nicole Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of the Greater Caribbean for Life and president of the Human Rights Association in St Vincent.

The meeting was part of Amnesty's promotion of International Awareness for World Day against the death penalty, which will be commemorated this Thursday with special focus on the Caribbean region.

Source: Newsday, October 7, 2013

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