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…

Le Monde: 40 intellectuals urge France to denounce Iran executions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
On the eve of the trip to France by the Iranian regime's President Hassan Rouhani, a group of forty intellectuals signed an appeal on Friday published in the French daily Le Monde to denounce the surge in executions in Iran, stressing that no political or economic consideration can justify turning a blind eye to the disastrous state of human rights in Iran.

The following is the text of the appeal by the 40 intellectuals which appeared in Le Monde on November 13, 2015:


We are deeply concerned by the situation of human rights in Iran and the increasing number of executions.

Amnesty International reported that from January to mid-July 2015, about 694 executions were carried out in Iran. That is the equivalent of more than 3 people per day. The NGO stated that "Iran's staggering execution toll for the 1st half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale."

In the 2 years that the "moderate" Hassan Rouhani has been president in Iran, some 2,000 people, including 57 women, have been executed, some in public, to terrorize the population.

According to Ahmed Shaheed, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, the country "continues to execute more individuals per capita than any country in the world."

Hassan Rouhani has defended the executions by saying that "it is the application of divine commandments or laws adopted by parliament."

The Iranian regime has so far executed 120,000 of its opponents, of which 30 % were women. The current Minister of Justice has been designated by human rights organizations as the "Minister of Death" for his involvement in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988.

Women are the first victims of the misogynist regime in Iran. In the past year dozens of Iranian women have been the target of acid attacks under the pretext of mal-veiling. Freedom of speech and assembly are non-existent and repression of religious and ethnic minorities continues unabated.

Rights abuses are enshrined in Iran's Constitution, Penal Code and the Iranian civil law. Punishments handed down include stoning, eye-gouging and amputation of limbs.

The international community cannot remain indifferent to these atrocities for which the Iranian people rightly accuse the mullahs' regime of being the godfather of Daech (ISIS, ISIL, IS, Islamic State). No political or commercial considerations can justify turning a blind eye to this situation. Even from the perspective of realpolitik, the long-term interest of our nation would be better protected by staying true to our values and our principles and by partnering with those who seek democracy, respect for human rights and separation of religion and state.

Therefore, we invite France and the President of the Republic to show firmness against violations of human rights in Iran in the dealings with that country.

List of first signatories:

Audrey Alwett (écrivain), Georges Aperghis (Compositeur), Robert Badinter (ancien Garde des Sceaux), Elisabeth Badinter (Philosophe), Patrick Baudouin (Président d'honneur de la FIDH), Brigitte Bellac (auteure scénariste), Pierre Bercis (président des Nouveaux droits de l'Homme), Jose Bové (eurodeputé), Jean-Pierre Bequet (ancien député-maire), Ingrid Betancourt (ex-otage), Hervé Bismuth (enseignant-chercheur), Yves Bonnet ( Prefet honoraire, écrivain), William Bourdon (avocat), Sorj Chalandon (ecrivain), Huguette Chomski Magnis (Secrétaire générale, Coordinatrice du Collectif Contre le Terrorisme), Francois Colcombet (ancien deputé et magistrat), Erica Dauber-Ziegler (Historienne des arts), Annie Ernaux (écrivain), Odile Favrat (militante syndicale), Mgr. Jacques Gaillot, Andre Glucksmann (philosophe), Elise Groulx Diggs (Avocate), Elisabeth Helfer-Aubrac (enseignante-officier des Palmes académiques), Renaud Helfer-Aubrac (petit fils du couple Aubrac), Henri Leclerc (President d'honneur de la LDH), Brigitte Lemaine (sociologue et réalisatrice), Damarys Maa Marchand (Présidente de la Fédération Nationale des Femmes Africaines de France et d'Europe), Andree Michel (directrice honoraire de recherche au CNRS), Jean-Pierre Michel (parlementaire honoraire) Gilbert Mitterrand (Pdt Fondation Danielle Mitterrand - France Libertés), Virginie Molinier (avocate), Maudy Piot (présidente de l'association Femmes pour le Dire, Femmes pour Agir), Alain Piot (Sociologue), Sapho (Chanteuse, écrivain), Olivier Steiner (écrivain), Alain Vivien (Ancien ministre), Rama Yade (ancien secrétaire d'Etat aux Droits de l'Homme), Jean Ziegler (sociologue, membre du Comite consultatif du Conseil des Droits de l'Homme de l'ONU)...

Source: ncr-iran.org, November 13, 2015

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