Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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 president Joko Widodo hints at abolishing death penalty

Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo
Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo
Ahead of three-day visit to Australia, Jokowi says Indonesians are ‘very open’ to changing their minds on execution laws

Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has indicated his country wants to move towards abolishing the death penalty.

Speaking ahead of a three-day visit to Australia, Widodo told the ABC he thinks Indonesians will change their minds on execution laws as citizens in Europe had done in the past.

“We are very open to options,” he said.

“I don’t know when but we want to move towards that direction.”

The execution in Indonesia last year of Australian drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran strained relations between the two countries. Widodo’s trip to Australia will be his first bilateral visit since Canberra withdrew its ambassador to Indonesia in protest against the executions.

“Indonesia has regulations, Indonesia has its own law, which still allows execution. That’s what I complied to,” the president told the ABC.

“We also listened to what other countries had to say. But again, I have to follow the provisions of the law applicable in Indonesia.”

But Widodo, who’s also known as Jokowi, also stressed the importance of rebuilding trust between Australia and Indonesia.

“The most important thing is definitely to have trust in between the country leaders, and then the relationship between the citizens,” he said.

Widodo also stressed the importance of the two nations working together to address the thousands of asylum seekers believed to be stranded in Indonesia.

“If we could sit down and talk through this, find the solution together I think in the future we’ll have a much better relationship,” he said.

Widodo arrives in Sydney on Sunday and is scheduled to address parliament in Canberra on Monday.

Source: The Guardian, Australian Associated Press, November 5, 2016

Indonesian President cancels Australia visit after violent blasphemy protest in Jakarta

Islamic demonstrators march in Central Jakarta
Islamic demonstrators march in Central Jakarta, Nov. 2016.
The protest was triggered by accusations that Jakarta’s Christian governor had insulted Islam

The Indonesian President has cancelled a visit to Australia after violence broke out at a mass protest in Jakarta against a Christian governor accused of insulting Islam.

Around 50,000 people descended on the Indonesian capital on Friday to protest against comments made by governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama - known by his nickname Ahok.

The protest was initially peaceful but deadly clashes erupted after demonstrators broke through police barricades and security barriers in an attempt to enter the presidential palace before they were stopped by officers firing tear gas, police said.

President Joko Widodo was scheduled to travel to Australia on Saturday, visiting the country from 6 to 8 November, but the trip was postponed as a "current development has required the president to stay in Indonesia,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

The protest was triggered after a video posted online allegedly filmed Mr Purnama criticising opponents who used references from the Quran to attack him.

Mr Purnama is ethnic Chinese and minority Christian. It is estimated that ethnic Chinese make up around one per cent of Indonesia's Muslim majority population of 250 million people.

Source: The Independent, November 5, 2016

Muslim Mob of 150,000 Demands Death of Christian Governor in Jakarta

A mob of 150,000 Muslim protesters took to the streets on Friday in Jakarta, Indonesia, calling for the death penalty for the capital's Christian governor.

Clashes following the protest resulted in one death and another 12 people injured, according to Indonesian police.

Islamist groups denounced Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for "insulting Islam," after the governor suggested that a Qur'an verse allegedly prohibiting Muslims from voting for non-Muslim leaders is a lie. During the march, demonstrators carried signs demanding that the official be put to death for blasphemy.

"Our message is clear: if he is not declared a suspect today, we won't stop until this happens," organizers said. "We have already planned a 3-day movement. We urge all Muslims across Indonesia to rise up in their own region."

The route of the march was secured by some 20,000 police and military personnel for fears it erupts into violence. Police stopped a mob from entering the housing complex where Gov. Purnama lives in northern Jakarta by firing tear gas into the crowd.

As a Christian and an ethnic Chinese, Mr. Purnama has 2 strikes against him in the world's most Muslim country and hardline Islamic groups have protested his rule ever since he was elected in 2014.

Friday's rally was echoed by similar large demonstrations in multiple other cities, instigated by the radical Islam Defenders Front (FPI), a Muslim group that wishes to impose sharia law on Jakarta.

The larger Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) agreed that the governor's statement constitutes blasphemy and should be investigated by law enforcement officials, yet claimed they were not involved in organizing the protest.

Following the protest, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo canceled a visit to Australia, scheduled from Sunday to Tuesday. The Foreign Affairs Ministry said the trip will be rescheduled because "current development has required the president to stay in Indonesia."

Source: breitbart.com, November 5, 2016

Indonesian University launches programme to ‘normalise’ LGBT people

Indonesia: No country for gay people
Indonesia: No country for gay men
The head of an Indonesian university has initiated a program to “normalise” gay students.

The State University of Gorontalo (UNG) in northern Indonesia issued the new policies which target members of the LGBT community.

Syamsu Qamar Badu, the rector of the university, announced that a “special team” will be employed to look out for and offer counselling to students who they suspect may be within the community.

“This identification process will not be easy, but we can’t just let it happen if there are male students wearing lipstick on campus,” Badu said.

Badu hopes the programme will create a “college of civilisation”, and that the new guidance will help bring LGBT people “back to normalcy.”

LGBT advocacy groups have protested the plan. One activist said: “UNG must guarantee non-discriminatory education for people of whatever sexual orientation.”

Wahiyudin Mamonto, head of the Institute for Research and Human Resources Development of Nahdlatul Ulama, told the Jakarta Post: “The policy is based on mere hatred.

Homosexuality has never been illegal in the Islamic country, but attitudes towards LGBT people have become steadily more extreme in recent years despite a growing gay population. The Indonesian Psychiatric Association (PDSKJI) still classifies homosexuality as an illness.

The country has agreed to block dozens of gay websites and apps in a crackdown on so-called “gay propaganda”.

The only transgender boarding school has been forced to close after being branded “immoral.”

A gay couple have been arrested in Indonesia for a photo showing them kissing that appeared on Facebook.

The 22 year old university student and his 24 year old boyfriend were arrested on the island of Sulawesi after other Facebook users complained to police about the photo.

However, the President of Indonesia has broken his silence on the country’s rising political culture of homophobia, finally insisting that LGBT people must be protected.

Source: Pink News, November 6, 2016

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