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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…

Indonesia's AG Secures Job by Capitalizing on Executions: Watchdog

Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo
Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo
Jakarta. H.M. Prasetyo has continued to secure his position as attorney general despite President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's cabinet reshuffle due to his tenacity to execute drug convicts, Hendardi, chairman of political watchdog Setara Institute told Suara Pembaruan on Thursday (28/07).

“[Attorney General] Prasetyo, who lacks any [significant career] achievements, continues to capitalize on the executions [and the president's apparent zero tolerance policy on the issue] to mask his shortcomings in anti-corruption enforcement and resolving human rights violations,” Hendardi said.

Prasetyo, according to Hendardi, was in panic over the cabinet reshuffle as plans for the executions were already underway.

“The future of human rights is hardly [promising given that we have] an attorney general who has no interest in human rights. Moreover with [newly appointed] Chief Security Minister Wiranto, it is almost certain that Jokowi’s campaign and promises on human rights would be hard to fulfill,” Hendardi added.

Misguided priorities

“[On an] evaluation of law enforcement process, drug eradication and penitentiary management should be the main priorities instead of taking the lives of death row convicts, which ultimately does not have any deterrent effect,” Hendardi said.

Hendardi strongly condemned capital punishment saying that it is against basic human rights and its enforcement is a violation of the Indonesian constitution.

“I refuse and condemn [capital punishment] and I urge the government to scrap death penalty sentences from the Indonesian legal system,” Hendardi said.

Source: Jakarta Globe, Siprianus Edi Hardum & Eko Prasetyo, July 28, 2016


Indonesians think corruption is worsening, survey says

Most Indonesians perceive that corruption has worsened in the country based on the frequency of electronic and print media outlets producing corruption-related news reports, a survey has revealed.

The survey commissioned by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) found that 66.4 percent of respondents believed corruption in Indonesia had worsened in the nearly two years since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo took office. Only 10.8 percent of respondents thought corruption cases in Indonesia had decreased, while the remaining 21.3 percent said the cases remained stagnant.

“Although they think that the number of corruption cases are increasing, 50.4 percent of the respondents believe that the country is serious about eradicating corruption,” CSIS researcher Arya Fernandes told a press conference on Tuesday, adding that 28.2 percent of respondents said the government was not serious enough.

Conducted from April 17 to 29, the survey involved 3,900 respondents aged at least 19 years old who gave their answers in a one-on-one interview. They comprised 1,900 respondents from Aceh, Banten, North Sumatra, Papua, and Riau, which were claimed as vulnerable to corruption by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). Meanwhile, 2,000 respondents were from 29 other provinces.

CSIS politics and international relations department head Vidhyandika Djati Perkasa said the survey’s respondents believed most graft convicts received light punishments, which led to the increase in corruption cases.

He added that court judges tended to impose punishments on graft convicts that were lighter than what prosecutors had demanded, thereby not creating a deterrent effect.

In 2014, the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW) observed 479 graft convicts and said 372 of them received less than four years’ imprisonment, with an average punishment of 2.8 years in prison.

Source: Jakarta Post, July 27, 2016

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