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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: Death sentences a warning for drug traffickers in West Jakarta

Indonesian courtroom (file photo)
Indonesian President Joko Widodo's tough on drugs stance and his resolve to push ahead with the execution of convicted drug smugglers is filtering down to the courts.

The West Jakarta District Court is leading the charge.

This week alone it sentenced 5 foreigners to death after the prosecutors demanded the highest penalty.

They include Li Fuzhang and Li Hezhang from China, who were convicted of smuggling 20 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia.

Toor Eng Tart, Ooi Swee Liew and Phang Hoon Ching from Malaysia received the same sentence this week for smuggling 51 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 140,000 ecstasy pills.

Reda Mantovani was appointed to the chief prosecutor position in West Jakarta in 2015.

He said he demanded the death sentence for 25 defendants found guilty of drug crimes during his 1st year in the job.

"When I got this job, I saw the number of drug related crimes kept increasing in West Jakarta," Mr Mantovani said.

"The criminal law enables me to demand the highest penalty, which is death, and that is what I am doing."

In the past 12 months the West Jakarta District Court has dealt with 1,320 drug cases.

"Do not mess around with drugs in West Jakarta, you will get the death sentence," Mr Mantovani said.

The last round of executions of convicted drug smugglers took place in July this year, when 4 prisoners faced the firing squad at Nusakambangan prison.

10 prisoners - who had been due to be executed - where spared at the last minute, although the Indonesian Government never provided an explanation for why.

According to the Jakarta based Institute of Criminal Justice Reform, 17 prisoners had already been sentenced to death up until June this year.

"I am sure there are some people who do not like the fact that the death sentence has been handed down, especially human rights groups," Mr Mantovani said.

"But I am merely implementing the law and the way I see it there are more people that support me than are against me."

37 defendants were sentenced to death in 2015.

Source: abc.net.au, September 30, 2016

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