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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…

Ghana Has 137 Death Row Inmates - Amnesty International

Ghana
Mr Lawrence Amesu, the Director of Amnesty International Ghana, said a lot had been achieved towards ensuring that Ghana gained the status as abolitionist in practice.

He said Ghana had not executed anyone over the past 23 years even though the courts continued to sentence people to death, and "we have about 137 death row inmates, including 3 women, in our prisons currently".

Speaking at the launch of Advocacy Toolkit for Abolition of Death Penalty in West Africa, Mr Amesu said he believed that Amnesty International's submission with support from other civil society organisations and the opinion of the public had contributed to the recommendation that death penalty should be abolished in Ghana.

He said though West Africa was leading that progressive forward march, however, the Anglophone countries within the continent are dragging their feet while the Francophone countries including Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso had either abolished the death penalty or were doubling their steps towards achieving that.

Mr Amesu said the toolkit was very useful for the media, civil society organisations and para institutions which were advocating for the abolition of the death penalty in Ghana as well as all government institutions which had a stake in the process.

"The document will also be very useful for the youth not only as an advocacy tool but also as a knowledge acquisition document because it highlights and explains such terminologies as abolitionist, retentionist, clemency, exoneration, and pardon, among others," he added.

The document, he said, traced the history and achievements of Amnesty International's journey towards total abolition of the death penalty in the world while focusing a little more on the situation in Africa and West Africa.

The toolkit also highlights the international instruments and bodies that support the need for the abolition of the death penalty.

Dr Isaac Annan, a Director at CHRAJ, who chaired the function, said Ghana was Human Rights compliant as it ratified most of the United Nations Conventions and Resolutions, and reiterated the need for the country to abolish the death penalty as a sign of commitment.

Ms Sabrina Tucci, of Amnesty International Secretariat, London, noted that West Africa is a beacon of hope for the whole of Africa and urged civil society organisations to continue the campaign.

She called on governments to engage the public in debates on the issue.

Source: peacefmonline.com, September 4, 2016

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