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…

Pakistan executions set to hit 300 since December – more than double previous high

Pakistan has hanged 299 people since resuming executions in December last year, and could pass the 300 mark any day, according to research by international human rights organization Reprieve and Justice Project Pakistan (JPP).

Pakistan lifted a moratorium on executions in December 2014, arguing that it was a necessary move to combat terrorism. However, an investigation by the Reuters news agency published in July this year found that, of 180 people hanged since late December, “fewer than one in six were linked to militancy.”

Reprieve’s count, based on publicly available sources and information from lawyers on the ground in Pakistan, finds that on average, there has been nearly one (0.93) execution every day since the moratorium was lifted. The total for 2015 so far is 292, with the deadliest month being October, when 47 people were hanged.

At the current rate, the projected total number of executions for 2015 will be 347. Based on the information Reprieve has been able to gather, this would appear to be the highest number on record, or at least for the past decade. During 2005-2008, the last period when Pakistan was executing, the highest annual total was 135, in 2007. Reprieve has been unable to gather consistent data for the years prior to 2005, but totals where available appear to have been much lower – in 2000, according to Amnesty International, 13 people were recorded as having been executed.

Commenting, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “This grisly milestone should cause Pakistan’s government to stop and think. The 299 people so far executed have included people sentenced to death as children, and victims of police torture. Yet independent studies show that very few of them have been alleged terrorists, despite the Government’s claim. This futile hanging spree has simply piled injustice on top of injustice, while leaving the people of Pakistan no safer than they were before.”

The Reuters investigation into those executions in Pakistan can be seen here.

Source: Reprieve, November 9, 2015

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