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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…

Germany, E.U. condemn mass execution in Iran

Public hanging in Iran
NCRI - Germany's foreign ministry has condemned the mass execution of Sunni political prisoners earlier this week and the hanging of a juvenile offender last month in Iran.

In a statement on Friday, August 5, Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner at the Federal Foreign Office, said: "I am deeply shocked that, as has transpired only now, Iran executed the young Iranian Hassan Afshar on 18 July."

"Hassan Afshar was only 17 years old at the time of the crime he is accused of having committed. His execution is therefore a totally unacceptable violation of international law, especially since there are considerable doubts as to whether rule‑of‑law principles were complied with at his trial."

"Not only the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – both of which Iran has ratified – prohibit the execution of individuals who were minors at the time of the offence."

"The German Government is opposed to the death penalty whatever the circumstances. Especially in view of the shocking reports of the recent execution of twenty men in the region of Alborz, I strongly urge all political leaders in Iran to suspend further executions with immediate effect and to refrain entirely from the imposition of death sentences against minors," Kofler added.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, described the mass execution of Sunni prisoners, carried out on the anniversary of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran, an appalling crime against humanity. The regime is trying in vain to contain the volatile social atmosphere and popular protests by terrorizing the public, she said.

The time has come for the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council to end their silence and bring the record of the Iranian regime's crimes before the International Criminal Court. Ali Khamenei and other leaders of the regime as well as direct perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice, Maryam Rajavi reiterated.

Source: NCRI, August 6, 2016

EU concerned by "high number of executions in Iran"


NCRI - The European Union has condemned the mass execution of Sunni political prisoners in Iran this week.

"Iran has recently executed 20 individuals charged with murder and undermining national security," said a statement Thursday (August 4) by the spokesperson for the EU's foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

"The EU reiterates its strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. It also recalls its concern with the high number of executions in Iran."

"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," the statement added.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, described the mass execution of Sunni prisoners, carried out on the anniversary of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran, an appalling crime against humanity. The regime is trying in vain to contain the volatile social atmosphere and popular protests by terrorizing the public, she said.

The time has come for the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council to end their silence and bring the record of the Iranian regime's crimes before the International Criminal Court. Ali Khamenei and other leaders of the regime as well as direct perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice, Maryam Rajavi reiterated.

Source: NCRI, August 5, 2016

Iran bans Pokémon Go


Get caught playing Pokémon Go in Iran and you could find yourself locked up, or possibly worse.

The High Council for Virtual Spaces, which regulates internet use within the nation’s borders, has just banned the augmented reality game over “security concerns,” according to the BBC.

That makes it the first country in the world to say “no” to Pokémon Go.

It’s not clear what the High Council finds so troubling about the game, which involves smartphone-wielding players visiting real-world locations to catch digital monsters. Going by recent publicity surrounding the hit game, the council’s concerns could easily encompass everything from crime-related fears such as robbery and trespassing, all the way to worries about large gatherings of people, something that tends to put strict regimes like Iran’s on edge.

The BBC said the Iranian authorities had apparently been considering slapping a ban on the game since last month, but wanted first to discuss the matter with its creator, San Francisco-based Niantic, before coming to a final decision about whether to let its citizens join in the fun.

Pokémon Go hasn’t been officially released in Iran, though many mobile gamers have nevertheless managed to download it via third-party sources. And while players in the country may still be keen to catch its virtual monsters on their travels about town, the official ban means gamers will need to keep a lookout for law enforcement engaging in a bit of catching of its own.

The Iranian government already places strict controls on the population’s use of the internet. A slew of popular sites, Facebook and Twitter among them, have long been blocked for most users, though some of its more tech-savvy citizens manage to find ways around the bans.

News of the Iranian ban on Pokémon Go comes just as Niantic launched the popular game in 15 new markets in Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore, which should please this guy.
Pokémon Go arrived exactly a month ago and quickly became a massive hit. It’s now available for download in around 90 countries, with more on the way.

Source: Digital Trends, Trevor Mogg, August 6, 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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