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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…

Hamas executes fighter for spying for Israel

Hamas militants prepare to execute a person suspected of collaborating with Israel in Gaza City on Aug. 22, 2014.
Hamas militants prepare to execute a Palestinian suspected of
collaborating with Israel in Gaza City on Aug. 22, 2014.
Occupied Jerusalem: Human Rights Watch has condemned Hamas’ execution of one of its own fighters after the Palestinian militant group’s military wing said the killing was carried out at the weekend.

The Al Qassam Brigades — the armed wing of Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip — said it had executed one of its members on Sunday, with sources familiar with the case calling him a senior official accused of spying for Israel.

“The Al Qassam Brigades announce that the death penalty pronounced against its member Mahmoud Eshtawi has been applied today,” the Brigades said in a statement.

Responding to the announcement, Sari Bashi, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, called it “another extrajudicial killing by forces linked to Hamas”.

“If Hamas really cares about defending the rights of Palestinian people, it will act to punish and prevent the killing of any Palestinian in rogue procedures outside the semblance of law and justice,” said Bashi.

Hamas has long carried out executions against those accused of spying in the Gaza Strip, including in public squares in the Palestinian territory and often without transparent trials.

However, this killing appeared to be the first time Al Qassam itself had sentenced one of its own through a court martial and executed him.

Al Qassam did not provide details on the accusations against him, other than to say that “the Brigades’ military and Islamic judicial committee issued the sentence because he violated rules and ethics.”

Eshtawi’s duties included overseeing tunnels that have previously been used to store weapons and carry out attacks against Israel, sources said.

According to the sources, he was in charge of a large unit and was previously a close associate of Mohammad Deif, the Al Qassam chief who has been a frequent target of Israeli assassination attempts.

Since the start of 2016, four Gazans have been handed death sentences after being accused of spying for Israel.

The Gaza Strip has seen three wars with Israel since 2008.

Source: Agence France-Presse, February 8, 2016

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