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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…

UN deplore Indonesia's response to calls to cease executions

UN Human Rights Committee deplores Indonesia's response to its call to stop executions for drug-related crimes

The UN Human Rights Committee has given Indonesia the lowest possible evaluation for its failure to respond to the Committee's call in 2013 to stop executing prisoners for drug-related crimes.

After a regular review of Indonesia's human rights record, the Committee in August 2013 urged the State to reinstate the de facto moratorium on the death penalty and to ensure that, if capital punishment was maintained, it was only for the most serious crimes, which do not include drug-related offences. The Committee also called on Indonesia to review its legislation so offences involving narcotics were not punishable by the death penalty.

In a follow-up evaluation of Indonesia this week, Committee members voiced concern at the recent executions in Indonesia and regretted that the State had not amended its legislation as requested. They awarded Indonesia a rare E grade on the scale of A to E, where A is largely satisfactory and E indicates the measures taken go against the Committee's recommendation.

Indonesia had argued that, given the severe impact and the challenges posed by drug-related crimes to the nation's survival and its young generation, it considered such offences as among the most serious to which the death penalty may apply.

Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Indonesia is a State Party, does allow for the death penalty in certain very restricted cases. The Committee has repeatedly stressed that drug-related offences are not such cases and that capital punishment for drug-related offences does not comply with Article 6 of the Covenant.

The Human Rights Committee monitors implementation by States Parties of the ICCPR by means of regular review and, where applicable, a follow-up procedure to analyse a State's response to the most pressing issues.

The Committee also urges all States to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant, which aims at the abolition of the death penalty. In 2013, it called on Indonesia to do so.

Source: Scoop.co.nz, April 3, 2015


Another Nigerian Sentenced to Death in Indonesia for Drug Trafficking

Another Nigerian, Simon Ezeaputa, has been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug trafficking. The district court in Tangerang, near Jakarta, found Ezeaputa guilty of controlling a drug transaction from his prison cell, where he was serving a 20-year jail term for drug offences.

According to AFP, the transaction involved 350 grams of crystal methamphetamine.

With the latest development, more than 60 people are on death row in Indonesia for drug offences.

The report said Indonesia executed 6 drug convicts in January and was preparing to put to death another 10 death-row inmates.

It said these include 2 Australians who have been the subject of a diplomatic row between Jakarta and Sydney.

Meanwhile, the Amnesty International said in its annual report on the death penalty worldwide released on Wednesday that "Indonesia stood out for all the wrong reasons."

Papang Hidayat, Head, Amnesty Researcher, Indonesia, said the death penalty was always a human rights violation.

He said there were many issues in Indonesia, particularly fair trial concerns, that make death sentences more complicated.

Hidayat said investigations by human rights groups have found that individuals sentenced to death have been tortured and forced to sign police investigation reports.

Source: This Day Live, April 3, 2015

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