Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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…

Indonesia: Drug Convicts Executed, Numbers of Deaths Unconfirmed

Jakarta. Despite international calls to abandon the death penalty altogether, the government went ahead with the third round of executions at the notorious Nusakambangan prison island, Central Java, early Friday (29/07).

The executions commenced slightly after midnight, after postponed by falling tents due to heavy rain and strong wind.

“[The executions] was at 00.45 a.m.,” said an unnamed source as quoted by Antara.

However, the number of executed inmates was not revealed, as authorities have yet to announce an official statement.

Family members of the inmates were also not notified on the time of the executions.

Previously, Attornery General H.M. Prasetyo had mentioned that 14 death row inmates – all of whom drug traffickers – were part of the third round of executions.

Four Indonesian citizens have been included in the list: Freddy Budiman, Merri Utami, Pujo Lestari and Agus Hadi.

Meanwhile, the remaining are foreign nationals from Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali; an Indian national named Gurdip Singh; Nigerians Onkonkwo Nonso Kingsley, Obina Nwajagu, Humprey Ejike, Eugene Ape, Gajetan Acena Seck Osmane and Michael Titus Igweh; as well as two Zimbabwe citizens, Ozias Sibanda and Federik Luttar.

Source: Jakarta Globe, Eko Prasetyo, July 29, 2016 (local time)

Indonesia executes 4 drug convicts

The government carried out the executions by firing squad some time after midnight

CILACAP, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Drug convicts were executed by firing squad in Indonesia on Friday, July 29, moments after midnight.

According to the Attorney General for General Crimes Noor Rachmat, of the 14 death row convicts who were to be executed, only 4 pushed through namely Indonesian Freddy Budiman, Senegal's Osmane Seck, and Nigeria's Michael Titus Igweh and Humphrey Jefferson.

The 10 others were spared although Rachmat did not elaborate on how the decisions were made.

The signs the execution would happen tonight were there.

Throughout the evening, lawyers and spiritual advisers of those sentenced to death came one by one to Cilacap’s sea port, the entry way to Nusakambangan island where executions by the government usually take place.

Buses carrying families also arrived throughout the night, to transport the families to the prison island where they claimed the bodies of those executed. Earlier in the day, family members cried, pleading for a last-minute reprieve for their loved ones.

Security was high around the port as media and locals flocked to the port’s gate, as news of the possible executions spread.

Source: Rappler, Natashya Gutierrez, July 29, 2016 (local time)

Indonesia halts execution of Pakistani drug convict

Zulfiqar Ali
Zulfiqar Ali
Indonesia on Friday halted the execution of Pakistani drug convict Zulfiqar Ali hours before he was set to face the firing squad, Express News reported.

Zulfiqar Ali, 52, was transferred Monday to Nusakambangan prison island off Java where executions take place. Indonesian authorities had told Pakistani officials his execution was imminent.

Earlier today, Indonesia rejected appeals from the UN and EU to halt the execution of 14 drug convicts, including Ali.

Rights groups including Amnesty International had expressed serious concerns about Ali’s conviction, alleging it arose out of beatings and torture and he did not have a fair trial.

Pakistan’s deputy ambassador in Jakarta, Syed Zahid Raza, said earlier on Monday his embassy has “approached all the concerned high officials to convince them that it was not a fair trial”.

Rights groups have claimed Ali, sentenced to death in 2005 for heroin possession, was beaten into confessing.

Source: The Express Tribune, July 29, 2016 (local time)

Indonesia executes 4 drug traffickers

The Indonesian government on Friday said it had executed 4 drug traffickers, giving a reprieve of uncertain duration to 10 others it had said would also be put to death.

Deputy Attorney-General Noor Rachmad said 1 Indonesian and 3 Nigerians were executed by firing squad not long after midnight local time.

He said the government hasn't decided when the other executions will take place.

Earlier this week, Indonesia's attorney-general said 14 people, mostly foreigners, would be executed.

Relatives, rights groups and foreign governments had urged Indonesia to spare their lives.

It is the 3rd set of executions under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who was elected in 2014 and campaigned on promises to improve human rights in Indonesia.

Source: Associated Press, July 28, 2016

Reports: Indonesia executes convicted drug traffickers

Reports say the Indonesian government has executed 4 of the 14 convicted drug traffickers.

The Indonesian government has carried out executions of 4 convicted drug traffickers, while sparing the lives of 10 other prisoners, Al Jazeera has learned.

The convicts were shot by firing squad at the Nusa Kambangan penal island shortly after midnight on Friday local time (1700 GMT on Thursday) amid pouring rain, according to TV reports.

Al Jazeera's Step Vaessen, reporting from Jakarta, said among those who were executed were 2 Nigerian citizens, a South African citizen and 1 Indonesian.

"All the others are still waiting their trials to be reexamined," our correspondent said. "It's not very clear what actually were the last conclusions why these executions didn't take place. But the government is saying it has something to do with legal issues."

The attorney general's office had said earlier on Thursday that 14 people, including foreigners, would be executed "soon".

The lawyer of Pakistani prisoner Zulfikar Ali earlier told our correspondent that his client was not among those who had reportedly been executed.

Al Jazeera's Vaessen said there had been "a lot of pressure" until the last minute to stop the executions.

The executions were the 3rd set carried out since President Joko Widodo took office in October 2014.

Widodo's 2-year-old administration will have executed more people than were executed in the previous decade. 14 were put to death last year. But 1 prisoner, a woman from the Philippines, was spared the death penalty at the last minute.

The European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had called on Indonesia to impose an immediate moratorium on executions, and the Indian and Pakistani governments also made urgent efforts to save 2 nationals among the condemned.

The Indonesian government said the death penalty is necessary for narcotics-related crimes because the country was facing a drugs epidemic, particularly affecting young people.

But critics argue that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent and some have also questioned the accuracy of the government's drug abuse statistics.

The government of Jokowi's predecessor did not carry out executions between 2009 and 2012, but resumed them in 2013.

Source: aljazeera.com, July 2016

Indonesia executes four drug convicts on Nusakambangan

Indonesia has executed the first four of 14 drug convicts on death row.

One Indonesian and three Nigerians were killed by firing squad shortly after midnight local time (17:00 GMT), reports say. There has been no confirmation yet from the government.

The remaining 10 are expected to be put to death in the coming days.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International condemned the executions as a "deplorable act that violates international and Indonesian law".

Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drug laws, and has faced intense criticism internationally for resuming executions.

Fourteen, mostly foreign, drug convicts were executed last year to widespread condemnation.

Cases of concern

This, the third round of executions under President Joko Widodo, took place at Nusakambangan prison island.

Relatives had gathered there earlier in the day to say goodbye to loved ones, according to the Jakarta Post. It also said 17 ambulances were sent to the island - 14 of them carrying coffins.

One source told local media the execution took place at 00:45 Friday, having been postponed because of heavy rain and strong winds.

Those who were executed have been named as Indonesian Freddy Budiman, and three Nigerians - Seck Osmane, Humphrey Jefferson Ejike and Michael Titus Igweh.

Those who remain on death row include three other Indonesians, a Pakistani, an Indian, two other Nigerians and two Zimbabweans.

Activists have been particularly concerned by the cases of the Pakistani man, Zulfiqar Ali - who they say was beaten into confessing to heroin possession - and an Indonesian woman, Merri Utami - who says she was duped into becoming a drug mule.

President Widodo vowed to take a hard line against drug trafficking when he was elected in 2014, saying he would not compromise over death sentences to convicted drug dealers.

Australia withdrew its ambassador from Indonesia for five weeks in protest at the execution of two Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in April 2015.

Source: BBC News, July 28, 2016

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