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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…

India: SC to rehear death row convict's plea

India's Supreme Court
India's Supreme Court
The Supreme Court today agreed to re-hear the plea of Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Arif, alias Ashfaq, seeking review of the death sentence awarded to him for his role in the attack on an Army battalion at Red Fort here in 2000.

A 5-member Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur said the review plea would be heard in open court by a Bench of 3 judges in the light of another Constitution Bench ruling in September 2014 acknowledging the need for transparency in such hearings.

Ashfaq's counsel pleaded that his client had been convicted only for conspiracy and was not part of the terror team that had mounted the attack, killing 3 jawans. 

Further, Ashfaq was the only death-row convict who could not take advantage of the 2014 SC verdict as his curative petition had been dismissed ahead of that, he contended and pleaded for open court hearing by relaxing the norm.

Confirming the death sentence awarded to Ashfaq, the SC had ruled on August 10, 2011 that he did not deserve anything less as he was part of both the conspiracy to wage a war against India and its execution. 

During the hearing of the appeal, Ashfaq could not cite a single mitigating circumstance warranting commutation of the death penalty, the apex court had pointed out.

In all, 6 militants had sneaked into the fort on December 22, 2000, and opened indiscriminate fire, killing 3. After the attack, all of them escaped by scaling the rear boundary wall of the 17th century monument.

Source: tribuneindia.com, January 20, 2016

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