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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…

Saudi Arabia kills Nigerian man in 95th execution of the year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Fahd Houssawi was put to death for murder of police officer as human rights groups raise concern over surge in executions

Saudi authorities have executed a Nigerian man after convicting him of murdering a police officer.

It was the 95th execution of the year in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, which imposes the death penalty for offences including murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy. The surge in executions has drawn concern from human rights groups.

Fahd Houssawi was executed on Sunday in the western city of Taif, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency. He had been found guilty of strangling a policeman and beating him to death, the ministry said.

Amnesty International has warned that at the current rate Saudi Arabia could see more than 100 executions in the 1st half of 2016.

The London-based watchdog said the kingdom carried out at least 158 death sentences last year, making it the third most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan. Its figures do not include secretive China.

The executions this year are higher than at the same point last year, Amnesty said.

Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for "terrorism" offences on a single day in January.

They included prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr whose execution prompted Iranian protesters to torch Saudi diplomatic missions, triggering a severing of relations.

Source: The Guardian, May 29, 2016

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