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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 woman to be executed in China

Time is running out for Wanipah, a 28-year-old migrant worker from Indramayu, West Java, on death row at Hangzhou Penitentiary in China.

According to her family's lawyer, Iskandar Zulkarnaen, Wanipah was convicted in April 2011 of smuggling 992.72 grams of heroin into China through Xiaoshan Airport in Hangzhou in December 2010.

Wanipah was sentenced to death, with a grace period of at least 2 years before execution. The Indonesian Foreign Ministry informed her family of her situation in August 2011.

Iskandar, speaking for her family, said that his legal team planned to take this urgent matter to House of Representatives Commission IX, which oversees manpower.

He also plans to seek help from the Foreign Ministry and Office of the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister to get a stay of execution from the Chinese authorities.

Wanipah's family said they hoped the government could provide adequate assistance and save their daughter's life.

"I hope Pak Jokowi can help resolve her case," Rusmini, Wanipah's cousin, said recently, referring to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

"At the very least, her sentence could be reduced," said Wanipah's mother, Nusriah.

Iskandar said that Wanipah was likely a victim of human trafficking as there was evidence that her travel documents had been forged.

On her family card, Wanipah is recorded as having been born on April 17, 1987. However, on her passport, her date of birth is May 1, 1978.

"It is possible that she had fallen victim to trafficking. We can see it, at least, from the false data," Iskandar said.

Based on data from the Foreign Ministry, 299 Indonesians are now facing execution overseas, 57 of whom were sentenced to death for drug offenses.

At least 467 Indonesians have been executed abroad, including 168 in Malaysia, 28 in Saudi Arabia, 15 in China, 4 in Singapore, 2 in Laos and 1 in Vietnam.

Most recently, migrant worker Siti Zaenab was executed last month in Medina, Saudi Arabia, after being sentenced to death in January 2001.

She was arrested in October 1999 for stabbing her Saudi Arabian employer to death. Siti, from Madura in East Java, had worked in that country since 1997.

Just days after Siti's execution, another migrant worker, Karni, was executed in Saudi Arabia. She received the death penalty in 2013 after killing her employer's child in 2012.

The executions were carried out without prior notice from the Saudi Arabian government and despite requests for pardons filed by the Indonesian government earlier this year.

Source: The Jakarta Post, May 20, 2015

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