Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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 executes four men

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi Arabian authorities have executed two Ethiopians, a Pakistani and a Saudi. Human rights activists have condemned what they called "a campaign of death" in the conservative kingdom.

Saudi Arabia executed on Wednesday four men convicted in different cases, bringing the number of executions carried out in the conservative kingdom so far this year to at least 100. The four executions were carried out by beheading.

Two Ethiopian expatriates were put to death in the south-western city of Jizan on charges of murdering a compatriot, according to the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry.

A Saudi citizen was also beheaded in Jizan for shooting dead another Saudi during a quarrel, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani man was executed in the western city of Jeddah after he was convicted of trying to smuggle drugs into Saudi Arabia.

"Saudi authorities have been on a campaign of death this year," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, said in June when the number of executions had already exceeded last year's total.

The kingdom has repeatedly rejected calls to end the death penalty, arguing that the punishment is aimed at deterring potential offenders. Human rights activists raised concerns about the fairness of trials in Saudi Arabia.

Under the country's strict Islamic sharia legal code, crimes such as murder, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and drug trafficking are punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, August 5, 2015

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