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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…

Pakistan: Three executions

2 convicts were hanged at Faisalabad Central Jail and 1 was hanged at the Dera Ghazi Khan Central Jail on Wednesday. The execution of a convict scheduled to be hanged in Dera Ghazi Khan on Wednesday was put off on orders of Lahore High Court.

A Prisons Department spokesperson said Muhammad Ishaq alias Saqi, son of Asghar Ali, a resident of Mohallah Bagh Jhang, and Liaqat Hussain, son of Ashiq Hussain Ansari, a resident of Sultan Noonwali Basti in Jhang, were hanged on Wednesday at the Faisalabad Central Jail. They were accused of killing 2 rivals on June 15, 1992, to avenge an old enmity. Kotwali police had registered a case against them.

Anti-Terrorism Court Judge Shafiq Ahamd Butt had sentenced them to death on August 7, 1994. The apex courts had upheld the lower court's decision and the president had turned down their mercy petitions. The court had then issued death warrants for Ishaq and Ansari.

They were allowed to meet their families for the last time on Tuesday. Tight security arrangements were made and the relatives were requested to stay calm. The suspects asked their families to forgive them. The men were executed on Wednesday and their bodies were handed over to their families. In Dera Ghazi Khan, a man convicted of killing his wife and daughter was executed on Wednesday morning. The execution of another convict was put off till December 23 on orders of the LHC.

Jail Superintendent Sheikh Afzal Javed said Mushtaq Ahmad and Allah Ditta had been scheduled for execution on Wednesday. Allah Ditta's execution was put off.

Ahmad, son of Allah Bakhsh, a resident of Taunsa Sharif, was hanged amid tight security. He had shot at and killed his wife and daughter on October 19, 1999.

A trial court had sentenced him to death on February 25, 2002. Allah Ditta, son of Rasool Bakhsh Gurmani, a resident of Rajanpur, had shot at and killed Abdul Karim on the premises of district courts to avenge his brother Piran Ditta's murder.

A trial court had sentenced him to death on October 1, 2007. District and Sessions Judge Khalid Mahmood had issued death warrants for the execution of Mushtaq Ahmad and Special Court Judge Wajahat Hussain had issued death warrants for Allah Ditta after their appeals had been rejected by superior courts and their mercy petitions were turned down by the president.

Source: The Express Tribune, December 17, 2015

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