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…

Indonesia: Decision due in Bali Nine death row appeal

A. Chan and M. Sukumaran: "The worst in the worst is expecting the worst."
A Jakarta court is due to decide whether it will allow Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan to challenge the decision to deny them clemency.

The unusual appeal in the state administrative court is likely the pair's last legal avenue to save them from the firing squad for the 2005 Bali 9 heroin smuggling bid.

The court in February rejected their challenge, determining the decrees by President Joko Widodo were not within its jurisdiction.

If it overturns this decision on Monday, lawyers will then argue Mr Joko did not fulfil his obligations when he issued a blanket rejection of clemency to Chan and Sukumaran, as he plans to do to more than 50 other death row drug offenders.

If the court upholds its earlier decision, it's not known what move the lawyers will take next in their efforts to spare the men.

Lawyer for Chan and Sukumaran, Leonard Arpan, last week said they had done their best for their Australian clients, who await execution on Nusakambangan island with 7 other prisoners.

On Sunday, Jakarta's Catholic Archbishop, Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, told reporters he was saddened by Indonesia's use of the death penalty, which he described as a 'failure of humanity'.

Also distressing for the archbishop was the severe treatment of Chan and Sukumaran when they were moved last month from their Bali jail cells to Nusakambangan, which involved a fighter jet escort.

'These men were handcuffed, was it necessary to be guarded by Sukhoi?' he told reporters after his Easter Sunday service.

'For me that's not strictness, for me that's very saddening because it's obvious that power wants to show itself and human dignity is not cherished.'

Jakarta is awaiting all of the 10 prisoners in line for the firing squad to run out of options for court appeals before setting a date for their executions.

Source: Sky News, April 5, 2015

Jakarta archbishop slams Indonesia's death penalty

Mary Jane Veloso
Jakarta's Catholic Archbishop has expressed his concern over Indonesia's use of the death penalty, adding the treatment of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran was a show of force over humanity.

Following Easter Sunday mass in Jakarta, Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo told reporters the church was strictly against the use of the death penalty.

He said he was saddened by the heavy-handed relocation of Australians Chan and Sukumaran from Kerobokan prison to the island where their execution is being planned.

The operation involved hundreds of balaclava-clad police and Sukhoi fighter jets.

"These men were handcuffed, was it necessary to be guarded by Sukhoi?" the archbishop said.

"For me that's not strictness, for me that's very saddening because it's obvious that power wants to show itself and human dignity is not cherished." The archbishop said using the death penalty was "a failure of humanity".

He raised concerns also for Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, 30, who is set to face the firing squad with Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33.

Veloso has been denied a judicial review of her heroin smuggling trial, even though she didn't have a qualified translator, and despite concerns the domestic worker was set up.

"I'm not sure at all that she's guilty," Archbishop Ignatius said.

"I don't know about the evidence in the trial, but what I know that she doesn't understand English ... she knows only Tagalog and when she was on trial, no one translated in that language.

"How could the trial have been fair?" The Philippines government says it plans to file a 2nd application for a judicial review for the single mother of 2.

Meanwhile a court will on Monday decide whether Chan and Sukumaran can challenge the president's decision to deny them clemency.

Jakarta plans to send 10 drug offenders to the firing squad at once - its biggest ever execution - but is waiting for all to run out of legal options.

Source: news.com.au, April 5, 2015

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