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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…

A year on from Peshawar, Pakistan sends more convicts to the gallows

Pakistan has hanged 8 convicted murderers in jails across the country. Executions come a day ahead of the 1-year anniversary of the Peshawar school attack, which prompted Islamabad to reinstate the death penalty.

A moratorium on executions was lifted last year by Pakistan after Taliban gunmen killed more than 150 people, most of them children, at an army-run school in the northwest on December 16, 2014.

The latest round of executions took place Tuesday in various locations in Punjab province, with 8 convicted murderers sent to the prison gallows.

"2 convicts on death row were hanged in Multan, 2 each in Bahawalpur and Gujrat and 1 each in Attock and Dera Ghazi Khan," Chaudhry Arshad Saeed, a senior prison official in Punjab, told the AFP news agency.

Pakistan has not released figures on the number of executions carried out since the 6-year moratorium was lifted. But rights activists put the number at 310 since March.

Taliban atrocity spurs return of hanging

The killing of nearly 150 people, mostly pupils, outraged the nation, allowing government to bring back the gallows.

Germany, the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Pakistan to cease executing prisoners.

Islamabad argues the state killings are necessary to deter militancy in the country. But rights groups say 90 % of those executed were convicted of common crimes and not tied to militant groups.

For decades more than 7,000 death row prisoners have been awaiting the gallows, according to statistics compiled by the Law Ministry.

Source: Deutsche Welle, December 15, 2015

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