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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…

UAE: Court sentences 4 Emiratis to death for joining IS

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A top court in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday sentenced four Emiratis to death after convicting them of joining the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria, local media reported.

The 4, who were tried in absentia, are part of a group of 11 defendants accused of "joining the terrorist Daesh group in an Arab country", the official WAM news agency said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

Local newspapers said that the group had travelled to Syria.

They were also charged with "promoting" IS online, helping to finance the group and insulting UAE leaders, WAM said.

3 other Emiratis, a Bahraini, a Mauritanian and a Syrian were handed jail sentences of between three and 10 years, the local Gulf News daily reported. Another Emirati was acquitted.

Abu Dhabi's Federal Supreme Court does not allow international media access to such trials.

The UAE is a member of the US-led coalition that has been bombing IS jihadists in Iraq and Syria since September 2014.

UAE authorities have enacted tougher anti-terror legislation, including harsher jail terms and even introducing the death penalty for crimes linked to religious hatred and extremist groups.

In July, the UAE executed an Emirati woman for the jihadist-inspired 2014 murder of an American school teacher in an Abu Dhabi shopping mall.

Her husband is accused of seeking to carry out attacks on targets including Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 circuit and has reportedly claimed to be the local leader of IS. He is currently on trial.

In another case, the same court jailed three Arabs for 10 years each after convicting them of ties to the Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen, WAM said on Sunday.

It acquitted 3 others for lack of evidence against them, it added.

The UAE is also playing a key role in a Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the Huthis and their allies in Yemen since March last year.

Source: Agence France-Presse, Feb. 15, 2016

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