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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…

Indonesian President Defends Death Penalty for Drug Crimes

Joko Widodo and Angela Merkel
Joko Widodo and Angela Merkel
Indonesia's president is defending his country's use of the death penalty for drug offenses, arguing that drug abuse constitutes an emergency.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws and more than 130 people on death row, mostly for drug crimes. Authorities recently said Indonesia is preparing to execute more foreigners convicted of drug offenses. Executions last year caused an international outcry.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said Monday that "Indonesia currently has an emergency, above all in drug abuse." He said 30-50 people a day die in Indonesia because of drugs.

Jokowi said through an interpreter: "Implementation of the death penalty is carried out very cautiously."

He spoke after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who underlined Germany's opposition to capital punishment and its wish for Indonesia "not to implement it if possible."

Source: Associated Press, April 18, 2016


German president urges abolition of Indonesia's death penalty

German President Joachim Gauck urged his Indonesian counterpart to abolish the country's death penalty during a meeting in Berlin on Monday, telling Joko Widodo that, especially when it comes to human rights, government heads must sometimes take the 1st step, according to attendees.

Reassuring Joko that Germany supports Indonesia's path towards more democracy, Gauck said that it's especially in times of transformation that wise social policy is needed to bring a society forward.

Gauck and Joko got into an intense discussion on the topic, with the Indonesian president arguing that the death penalty was still necessary to fight against drug-related crimes.

He added that with 85 % of the population supporting capital punishment, it was not up to him to go against the will of the majority.

Gauck said that Germany's relationship with Indonesia was especially important in the fight against radical Islamism, and that the archipelago showed that Islam and democracy are far from incompatible.

Source: DPA, April 18, 2016

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