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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…

Guyana passes terrorism law with death penalty provision

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana's parliament has approved anti-terrorism legislation that includes the death penalty for certain offenses and would allow rendition of suspects to other countries.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told skeptical opposition lawmakers during a debate that ended late Wednesday that the legislation is necessary to make sure the South American nation does not become a haven for terrorists. 

He says allowing rendition would prevent abuses of the extradition process.

The ruling party used its one-seat majority to pass the bills during the National Assembly's final session for the year

 All members of the opposition abstained. President David Granger is expected to sign the legislation into law.

"Draconian times require Draconian measures," Ramjattan said during debate that stretched into the night.

Opposition lawmakers said that the provisions allowing the death penalty for terrorism offenses that resulted in death would violate human rights and they criticized the government of pushing through the legislation without submitting it to a committee for further review.

"This is a travesty," said Gail Texeira, an opposition member of the parliament. "Government cannot state what is the urgency in passing these bills."

Ramjattan brushed aside calls for removing the death penalty clauses, saying the option of capital punishment would "have that preventative, dissuasive effect" on potential offenders.

Source: Associated Press, December 31, 2015

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