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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: Absence of interpreters causes problems for foreign defendants

Indonesia: Absence of interpreters causes problems for foreign defendants
The Indonesian justice system often fails to protect the rights of foreign defendants, particularly the right to be accompanied by an interpreter during legal processes, an activist has said.

The absence of interpreters is a serious matter, particularly for defendants accused of committing serious crimes who could face heavy sentences, including the death penalty, Indonesian Judicial Watch Society researcher Anugerah Rizki Akbari said on Thursday.

He gave an example of Filipino suspect Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, who was on death row in 2015.

“Mary was given an English interpreter during trials when she actually needed a Tagalog interpreter,” Rizki said at the Celebrating Life event held at Plaza Indonesia shopping mall on Thursday.

Indonesia halted the execution of Veloso after the Attorney General’s Office last year received information suggesting she was a victim of human trafficking. Her execution was postponed, pending legal processes in the Philippines.

A similar situation occurred in 2002 when Nonthanam M. Saicon, a Thai national, was sentenced to death for smuggling narcotics, Rizki said.

In a court hearing for a judicial review this year, the Supreme Court decided to reduce Nonthanam’s sentence from the death penalty to life in prison because the Tangerang District Court had failed to provide a Thai interpreter during the trial.

The Supreme Court believed she could not fully understand the indictment against her, so justices reduced her sentence.

Source: Jakarta Post, Callistasia Anggun Wijaya, September 8, 2016

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