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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…

India Moves to Hang Terrorist Yakub Memon Amid Growing Calls to Abolish Death Penalty

Yakub Memon
Yakub Memon
The country remains divided on whether to retain capital punishment

Terrorist convict Yakub Memon, sentenced to death eight years ago for his role orchestrating the 1993 Mumbai bombings, will be hanged at the end of the month provided India’s Supreme Court rejects his final curative petition for mercy next week.

Memon, found guilty of being the “driving spirit” behind the 13 blasts that claimed more than 250 lives, is tentatively scheduled for execution on July 30, sources from India’s Home Ministry confirmed to the Indian Express newspaper.

While the death sentences of 10 others convicted of the attacks were commuted to life imprisonment, Memon’s earlier mercy plea to the country’s President Pranab Mukherjee was declined in April, and his new attempt is similarly expected to be rejected.

Memon’s hanging, if it takes place, will be the third high-profile terrorist execution in India within the past three years — Ajmal Kasab, one of the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, was hanged in November 2012 and Afzal Guru, convicted of planning an attack on India’s parliament in 2001, met a similar fate a few months later.

The final decision on Memon’s fate, due to be handed down on July 21, comes as India wrestles with abolishing the death penalty altogether. The South Asian nation’s law commission is preparing a report to be submitted to the Supreme Court on ending capital punishment, with a discussion on its consultation paper regarding the subject resulting in a polarization of opinion.

Former Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was among the notable voices in favor of scrapping the death penalty, saying that most cases involving a death sentence have a “social and economic bias,” the Times of India reported.


Source: Time, Rishi Iyengar, July 16, 2015


Yakub Memon could be hanged on July 30
NAGPUR: Yakub Memon, one of the prime accused in March 12, 1993 Mumbai serial bombs explosion, will be hanged on July 30 for his role in the terror blasts, official sources said on Wednesday. 

The sources said he will be hanged in Nagpur Central Jail, where he is currently lodged, following the recent rejection of his mercy petition by the president, an official, who declined to be identified, said. 

Memon, 53, was awarded the death sentence by a Special TADA Court in Mumbai in 2007 for his role of arranging for finances for the carrying out the 13 serial blasts which left 257 dead and over 700 injured across the city. 

Subsequently, Memon - the brother of one of the main absconding accused Tiger Memon - appealed against the sentence in the Bombay High Court, Supreme Court and later filed a mercy petition with the President. 

Source: The Times of India, July 15, 2015

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