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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…

Indonesian court rejects death row Frenchman's appeal

French death row inmate Serge Atlaoui
Indonesia's Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by a Frenchman on death row for drug offences, taking him and a group of other foreigners closer to execution by firing squad.

Serge Atlaoui, 51, was arrested near Jakarta in 2005 in a secret laboratory producing ecstasy and was sentenced to death two years later.

Imprisoned in Indonesia for a decade, the father-of-four has always denied the charges, saying he was installing industrial machinery in what he thought was an acrylics factory.

He is one of several foreign drug convicts on death row in Indonesia who recently lost appeals for presidential clemency, typically a last chance to avoid the firing squad. They are expected to be executed once final legal appeals are resolved.

In a further bid to avoid execution, Atlaoui filed a request for a judicial review of his case at the Supreme Court.

However Suhadi, one of the judges assessing his case, said the court rejected his application on Tuesday.

"A panel of three judges has rejected (the request) for a judicial review from Frenchman Serge Atlaoui," said Suhadi, who goes by one name and is also the Supreme Court spokesman.

He said there was no new evidence presented -- a requirement for a judicial review -- and the reasons put forward were not sufficient.

Several other death row convicts also have legal bids outstanding, including two high-profile Australian drug traffickers who have lost several appeals but are now taking their case to the Constitutional Court, although authorities insist they have no more options.

A Ghanaian among the group is appealing to the Supreme Court.

The French ambassador to Indonesia warned last week that executing Atlaoui would have "consequences" for relations between Paris and Jakarta.

Drug laws in Indonesia are among the world’s toughest.

President Joko Widodo, who took office in October, has been a vocal supporter of putting drug traffickers to death, saying the country is facing a narcotics emergency.

However Indonesia has been actively trying to save its own citizens on death row abroad -- Jakarta last week protested at the execution of two Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 21, 2015

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