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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…

Iran: Youth Arrested In His Teens at Imminent Risk of Execution

Iran: Barbaric and medieval punishments
Urgent Action, November 28, 2016

Himan Uraminejad has been warned by prison officials that he is at risk of execution as Iran's Head of Judiciary has approved the implementation of his death sentence. 

He has been on death row since 2012 for a crime committed when he was 17 years old.

Amnesty International has learnt on 21 November that Himan Uraminejad, aged 22, was informed by prison officials on 6 October that the Head of Judiciary had approved the implementation of his death sentence and his family should intensify their efforts to seek a pardon from the family of the deceased because his execution could be carried out at any moment. 

He was sentenced to death in August 2012 after a criminal court in Kurdistan Province convicted him of murder over the fatal stabbing of a boy during a group fight. He was 17 years old at the time of the crime. 

In September 2014, the Supreme Court quashed his death sentence and granted him a retrial, based on new juvenile sentencing provisions in Iran's 2013 Islamic Penal Code. 

In June 2015, however, he was sentenced to death again. The criminal court presiding over his retrial referred to an official medical opinion that found "no evidence of a disorder at the time of the crime that would remove criminal liability". 

The court also referred to Himan Uraminejad's statements that he had no "mental illness or history of hospitalization" and understood killing someone was "religiously forbidden" (haram). 

The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in November 2015 and rejected a subsequent request for retrial.

Himan Uraminejad was sentenced after a grossly unfair trial that relied on evidence obtained through torture. He was arrested on 22 April 2012 when he was 17 years old. 

He was subsequently transferred to an undisclosed detention centre where he was held for 20 days, without access to his family and lawyer. He has said that during this period, he was tortured, including by repeated beatings that left scars and bruises all over his face and body, and suspension from the ceiling by a rope tied to his feet. He has said that police also raped him with an object shaped like an egg, threatened to cut off his testicles and walked over his body with boots. 

Himan Uraminejad's trial was held before an adult court, without special juvenile justice protections. The court ordered no investigation into his allegations of torture.

TAKE ACTION


Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

- Urging the Iranian authorities to halt any plans to execute Himan Uraminejad, and commute his death sentence without delay;

- Urging them to ensure that his conviction is quashed and that he is granted a fair retrial in accordance with the principles of juvenile justice, in particular ensuring that no statements obtained through torture and other ill-treatment are admitted as evidence;

- Urging them to ensure his allegations of torture are investigated and those responsible are brought to justice;

- Immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

Contact below official by 6 January, 2017:

Office of the Supreme Leader
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Fax: (212) 867-7086 // Phone: (212) 687-2020
Email: iran@un.int

Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
Salutation: Your Excellency

Source: Amnesty International USA, November 29, 2016

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