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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…

EU calls on Indonesia to halt all executions

Indonesian police officers
The EU has called on the Indonesian government to halt all executions and to consider joining a large community of more than 140 states that have abolished the death penalty entirely or have adopted a moratorium.

The EU made the statement in a response to the planned executions of up to 14 convicts in Indonesia.

“The EU is opposed to capital punishment without exception and has consistently called for its universal abolition,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

“The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.”

Also on Thursday, the US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it opposed the death penalty in all circumstances because of its inherent cruelty. “Indonesia’s use of the death penalty is contrary to international human rights law, statements of UN human rights experts and various UN bodies,” it said.

Citing Law and Human Rights Ministry data, HRW revealed 133 people were on death row in Indonesia as of January 2015. 

They included 57 who were convicted of drug trafficking, two for terrorist offenses and the remaining 74 for murder or robbery.

HRW says human rights law upholds every human being’s “inherent right to life” and limits the death penalty to “the most serious crimes,” typically crimes resulting in death or serious bodily harm.

“Indonesia should join the many countries already committed to the UN General Assembly’s Dec.18, 2007 resolution calling for a moratorium on executions, a move by UN member countries toward abolition of the death penalty.”

Source: Jakarta Post, July 28, 2016


Execution spree in Indonesia terribly worrying: UN

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called on the Indonesian government to stop the executions of 14 death row convicts scheduled to face the firing squad this week, saying the increasing use of the death penalty in the country is “terribly worrying.”

“I find it deeply disturbing that Indonesia has already executed 19 people since 2013, making it the most prolific executioner in Southeast Asia,” Zeid said in a statement released on Wednesday.

The whole legal process for the death row convicts, mostly sentenced for drug-related crimes, lacked transparency and did not comply with fair trial principles, including the right to appeal, the international body said.

Zeid said drug-related offenses did not fall under the threshold of the “most serious crimes” and therefore their perpetrators should not be punished by death. “The focus of drug-related crime prevention should involve strengthening the justice system and making it more effective,” he said.

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) has confirmed that the third wave of executions under the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo administration will be carried out later this week. The Jokowi government said it could not interfere with the legal process of the death row inmates, which it said had reached a binding conclusion.

Source: Jakarta Post, July 27, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

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