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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…

Myanmar: Wa Authorities Say 2 Men Executed in Self-Ruling Region

A court in Panghsang handed down death sentences to 2 people found guilty of murder in the autonomous Wa Special Region, where on Sunday the duo were executed, according to local sources.

Zhao Guoan, who is a spokesperson from the United Wa State Army (UWSA), confirmed the court ruling and the men's execution.

"They killed other people. The court gave the death sentence to them yesterday," he told The Irrawaddy on Monday.

He said the crime and severe sentence were rare in the Wa Special Region, an autonomous zone in Shan State that is ruled by the UWSA and administers a judicial system independent of the Burmese government.

"Our court only gives the death penalty when someone killed another. It happens only sometimes here," Zhao said.

The UWSA, Burma's largest ethnic armed group, administers the Wa Special Region essentially beyond the reach of the central government in Naypyidaw.

At the national level, Burma is considered a de facto abolitionist state and has not openly carried out an execution in decades.

The UWSA-run Wa State TV aired a broadcast on Sunday that showed photos of the 2 men made to kneel before police officers, presumably before being shot dead in accordance with the Panghsang court's ruling.

A separate report, also from UWSA-affiliated media, identified the men, one being Yan Lu, a 50-year-old ethnic Wa man who was found to have killed his 2 wives while under the influence of illicit narcotics.

Li Jian Guo, a 33-year-old Chinese citizen, was found guilty in the slaying of his 18-month-old son, also reportedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The weekend executions recall a similar case that played out in January in the Mong La Special Region, where a Chinese national was reportedly executed by officials apparently acting under instruction from the semiautonomous authority there. That man, too, was found guilty of murder, as well as arson. The Mong La Special region is administered by the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA), a non-state armed group like the UWSA.

Source: The Irrawaddy, March 14, 2016

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