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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…

Saudi Arabia beheads own citizen in Najran

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has beheaded one of its own citizens after sentencing him to death on charges related to drug trafficking.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency that the man known as Saleh al-Yami was beheaded in the southern province of Najran on Monday.

The man was reportedly found guilty of smuggling an undisclosed amount of hashish and banned narcotic pills into the kingdom. Yami was also convicted of wounding several policemen during a confrontation.

The latest beheading brings to 57 the number of people executed across the kingdom so far this year.

On March 24, Riyadh beheaded a Pakistani national and a Saudi man after sentencing them to death for drug trafficking and murder.

A Syrian national had a similar fate on March 18, after a court had convicted him of smuggling amphetamines into the country.

Concern is growing about the increasing number of executions in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom has seen a surge in executions this year. Last year, Saudi authorities executed 87 people, compared with 78 in 2013.

Saudi authorities say the executions reveal the kingdom’s commitment to “maintaining security and realizing justice.”

The kingdom has come under particular criticism from human rights groups for the executions carried out for non-fatal crimes.

Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under the Saudi rule.

Source: Agence France-Presse, April 6, 2015

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