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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…

Concerns as reports suggest juvenile executions in Saudi may be days away

International human rights NGO Reprieve has raised concerns over Saudi media reports, which suggest that juveniles Ali al Nimr and Dawoud al Marhoon could be executed in days.

Saudi news outlet Okaz has today reported that 55 people convicted of ‘anti-Government offences’, are to be executed in the coming days. A number of those are apparently from the same region as juveniles Ali al Nimr and Dawoud al Marhoon, and Ali’s Uncle, the high profile pro-democracy activist Sheik al Nimr. The fears were compounded after the young men were taken for an announced medical examination in the prison, which suggests their execution has been scheduled.

The reports have raised concerns at human rights NGO Reprieve, which is assisting the two juveniles, that their executions could be imminent, as well as that of Abdallah al-Zaher, who was only 15 when he participated in protests. Both Ali and Dawoud were convicted in part on trumped-up anti-Government charges, despite their being youth activists who attended pro-democracy protests.

Ali al Nimr and Dawoud al Marhoon were both sentenced to death when they were under 18, for attending pro-democracy political protests. Both are understood to have been held in solitary confinement in Riyadh.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has previously called on the Saudi authorities to stop the planned execution of Ali al Nimr, and his government cancelled a bid to provide services to the Saudi prisons because of human rights concerns.

Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team, said: “These reports are extremely concerning – suggesting that the Saudis may be just days away from executing people convicted when they were children, who were demanding political reform in their country. These executions must be stopped, and Saudi’s allies in the UK must once again make representations to prevent them going ahead.”

Source: Reprieve, November 24, 2015

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