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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…

Saudi executes Pakistani heroin smuggler

Public executions in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public executions in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed a convicted Pakistani heroin smuggler, adding to a toll which rights group Amnesty International says is the kingdom`s highest in two decades.

The ministry of interior said Khan Iqbal was put to death in the holy city of Mecca for smuggling a large amount of heroin in his intestines.

According to AFP tallies, Iqbal is the 149th local or foreigner put to death this year, against 87 for all of 2014.

London-based Amnesty says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year is the highest since 192 people were put to death in 1995.

The toll has rarely exceeded 90 annually in recent years, it said.

Reasons for the surge are unclear.

Over the last few weeks, however, there has been a marked drop in executions, all of which are reported by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom and say the death penalty should not be applied in drug cases.

Last month the European Union issued a statement saying a number of people had been put to death recently in Saudi Arabia after convictions for drug trafficking.

"The European Union is opposed to capital punishment in all cases and without exception," it said.

Source: Agence France-Presse, December 8, 2015

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