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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 trying to win UN Human Rights Council presidency

In a move that will definitely drill the "final nail in the coffin for credibility" for the United Nations' Human Rights Council, Saudi Arabia is set to make a bid to head the HRC.

The news surfaced after the United Nations Watch that overlooks the HRC pushed the United States to prevent the nation that recently advertised for 8 new executioners to not be awarded the title.

"We urge US Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini to denounce this despicable act of cynicism by a regime that beheads people in the town square, systematically oppresses women, Christians, and gays, and jails innocent bloggers like Raif Badawi for the crime of challenging the rulers' radical brand of Wahabbist Islam," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, reported The Independent.

"Electing Saudi Arabia as the world's judge on human rights would be like making a pyromaniac as the town fire chief."

Currently, Germany is heading the HRC but when its term ends in 2016, the new presidency will be announced.

According to a UN official, the presidency will be determined by elections in December 2015.

Saudi Arabia was elected a member of the HRC in 2013 - a move that drew heavy criticism from human rights campaigners worldwide.

Saudi Arabia carried out its 84th execution in 2015 on 18 May despite calls from Amnesty International to bring to a halt the "macabre spike" in the country's executions.

"This unprecedented spike in executions constitutes a chilling race to the bottom for a country that is already among the most prolific executioners on the planet," said Said Boumedouha, the deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

"If this alarming execution rate continues, Saudi Arabia is well on track to surpass its previous records, putting it out of step with the vast majority of countries around the world that have now rejected the death penalty in law or practice."

Oil-rich kingdom wants to recruit executioners

In 2014, an estimated 87 executions were carried out by the Kingdom, which is a stark reminder of the alarming rate with which executions are being carried out in 2015.

The Kingdom recently advertised for more executioners to behead convicted prisoners with the job description suggesting the appointees should be able to perform amputations as well.

Crimes that can result in the death penalty in the Kingdom, include adultery, armed robbery, blasphemy, drug trafficking, murder, homosexuality and rape to name a few.

Source: International Business Times, May 22, 2015

Related article and video:
Saudi Arabia executes Burmese woman; secret filming reveals medieval, barbaric punishment, Gulf News, January 12, 2015

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