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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…

Turkey: Erdogan warns EU he will sign death penalty law if approved by parliament

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday warned the European Union he would sign a law bringing back the death penalty if it was approved by parliament.

“Democracy, it’s respecting the people’s will,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.

“If the people say ‘we want the death penalty’… and this goes to parliament and parliament passes it and it comes to me, I declare I will approve this,” he added.

Erdogan was speaking hours after he had rattled Europe by threatening to open Turkey’s borders to allow migrants to reach the EU, in a move that would tear up a landmark deal signed in March that has reduced the refugee flow.

He made his remarks in response to the cheering crowds’ chants of “we want the death penalty”, an oft-repeated call during his rallies since the July 15 failed coup.

“When you want the death penalty, the gentlemen are uncomfortable,” he said, apparently referring to EU officials.

Erdogan said that if he signed the death penalty back into law, it would likely be blocked by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), but this did not concern him.

“I say, it doesn’t bother me. Because the European Court of Human Rights gives a lot of decisions, we know it very well… this people’s will, yes this is a will that must be respected by everyone.”

EU officials have repeatedly made clear that bringing back the death penalty would end Turkey’s bid for membership, which sets abolishing capital punishment as a condition.

Turkey completely abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of its accession process.

The move meant the 1999 death sentence for Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan was commuted to life behind bars.

No judicial executions have taken place in the country since left-wing militant Hidir Aslan was hanged on October 25, 1984 in the wake of the 1980 military coup.

Source: Agence France-Presse, November 25, 2016

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